I grow various vegetables in two raised beds in my back yard - usually one has tomatoes and sweet peppers, the other has non-nightshade vegetables (rotating annually which is which). I live far enough north that it's not really worth planting anything over winter, I haven't had the patience to plant proper overwinter crops, so it lays dormant for that time; then I amend with some additional (mushroom, mostly) compost each spring when planting.

Is it better for my garden for me to remove the dead vegetation now (in the early fall; it's just recently fallen below the temperature they will grow new fruits in) or for me to let them stay in the soil over winter and remove them shortly before planting in the spring?


In general it is better to leave the garden "clean and tidy" over winter, rather than have dead and/or decaying vegetation that can shelter pests and diseases.

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    Yeah. it's especially important to remove nightshade-family plant debris, since that can harbor many diseases for the next year (tomatoes can pass on a ton of fungal issues from their foliage - septoria leaf spot, late blight, etc.). I use a three-year rotation schedule and I still have issues with septoria every year. I like to tidy the garden up before it freezes because I really don't like dealing with the mushy foliage, stems and, especially, fruits after a freeze.
    – Jurp
    Oct 5 '20 at 21:10

You already have an accepted answer (that I agree with). But I'll also add that one of the best things you can do for spring fertility is plant a fall cover crop that will overwinter. A good mix of a hardy legume and a winter rye will improve your soil structure, and a lot of cover crops are also nitrogen fixers, meaning they'll take nitrogen from the air and, when you till them under, will enrich the soil with it (the opposite of most plants, which will deplete your nitrogen). And you mention not having patience, but most cover crops are easy to just broadcast sow and then keep periodically watered. On the whole, they really require little maintenance.

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