One of the nice things about being in a house you have bought after three years of renting other places is that you can actually plan ahead for the next year. Planning often means work though, so I decided that Saturday, a beautiful not rainy day, would be a good time to prep my raised beds for next spring.
Was not nearly motivated to take stage by stage pictures...but, I'm sure you can imagine what it looks like to rip out whatever is still growing in a raised bed. Now, the fact is, a lot of things that I read said that ripping your old plants out is BAD, BAD, BAD. They say just cut your plants off at ground level, and as the roots decompose, they will leave nice little aerated channels in your soil. I'll buy that...but ripping them out is more satisfying, and since I had planned on turning everything over and raking in a bunch of stuff, I didn't want all those root balls in my way.
The next step was getting a bunch of organics in the soil. I was not at all happy with my soil this year, and so boosting it before next year is a huge priority. Once I had all this years growth(and weeds) pulled out, I mixed some commercial compost, a couple of big handfuls of mulched up leaves, and chicken manure into each bed. I know that adding fresh chicken manure to the garden is bad, because the nitrogen levels are too beaucoup, and it will burn your plants, but with 4 or 5 months to mellow, I didn't see any reason not to mix it right into the beds.
Finally, to keep the weeds away, I set a nice blanket of straw over each bed. The big decision in the spring is whether I want to pull all the straw off, or just plant through it, and leave it there as a mulch.
Luckily, I have a few months before I need to make that decision.