Last year my wife and I built a small 4' x 8' raised bed and were pretty happy with our success (both first-time gardeners).
Last October I reached out to a 'master gardener' in our area and asked for her advice in closing the bed for the year. She instructed me to:
- Pull out all organic matter (roots, vegetables, weeds, etc.) and discard
- Aerate the top soil by turning it over a few times
- "Seal" it with a layer of leaves
I followed the advice. Now I'm in the process of reopening the garden, and the leaves are still there, as well as a few plants (weeds?, baby trees?) that I didn't expect to see.
- What should I do with the leaves? Remove them? Put top soil & compost mix on top of them? Roto-till the first six inches of dirt and effectively 'mulch' them into the existing top soil?
- And what do I do with the weeds that have already sprouted up? I could rip them out but am worried that perhaps their roots have already grown deep into the bed.