Turning Georgia clay into soil
I live zone 7, Atlanta to be specific. For years I have read all I could on gardening -books, internet, radio shows, etc., and lots and lots of trial and error. All with varying degrees of success (I have pretty good success with flowers, shrubs, etc.).
My problem is that I want to have a humble vegetable garden (tomatoes, zucchini, beans, peas), and for the life of me I cannot get a handle on it. The area I want to use is about 4x20 feet, and is pretty much 100% red Georgia clay. I think that for any hope of veggies NEXT summer, I need to spend time now to get it ready, soil test it, amend, etc.
But I have NO idea where to start. Sending samples off of pure clay seems silly. So do I amend it with some things first, into the clay? Do I completely remove 6-8 inches of clay and replace it with something? Then send soil samples? Or just do a big raised garden?
I would appreciate some input, as I really want to establish a small but healthy veggie garden. So if I could get an idea of the steps I should take, I thank you.