Creating "No-Dig" Bed
I live in S. Louisiana just north of Lake Ponchartrain from New Orleans. I have decent topsoil, but lurking only inches underneath is some of the slimiest gray clay you've ever laid eyes on. I also have some large oaks around the periphery of my backyard, so roots are everywhere and the combo of the clay and roots makes digging a nightmare.
I have an area previously used as a vegetable bed that has excellent soil from years of amending. Currently it has a newly planted Meyer Lemon tree. I would like to expand this bed to make a large kidney shaped bed for roses, daylilies, and other perennials. It has literally rained in excess of 6 inches here in the past week, so digging this weekend is really out of the question. I was able to dig a trench along the outline of the bed last weekend before it started raining. This has brought me back to the idea of lasagna or no-dig gardening.
I had previously done this over several years in an area along my fence riddled with tree roots. I put down newspaper and always dumped my grass clippings, leaves, etc. in the area and am amazed how great the soil turned out in this spot. My concern is, I did this slowly over several seasons--I've never planted directly into a "fresh" no dig bed before. Can it be done successfully?
I have some newspaper and cardboard to make a thick bottom layer, and I have a local horse stable that will fill a pickup with as much composted manure as I can handle for 20 bucks plus inexpensive bales of hay. I have no trouble finding grass clippings around the neighborhood, and I can imagine everyone's grass will have grown quite a bit with all the rain we've had.
How should I go about building my bed, and is it really possible to plant directly into before "cooking"? I already have a lovely potted Belinda's Dream pink rose (supposed to be an excellent rose for Gulf South) ready to go. And in your opinion, can a lemon tree be a suitable addition to an ornamental bed?