You will have to do this again in the Spring come cool season crop planting but you can do a lot now to make it easier for yourself come Spring.
At this point (in Maryland) you probably have had issues with multiple diseases and pests. I still have a white-fly problem and will be sadly cutting down all my Winter kale.
Take a look at my pictures and you can see tomato remains and weeds. Disease harbors in old plant (if you have themmaterial and can actually take hold on leaves on the weeds. I don't know enough to tell you which weeds are bad but the less growing the better. Pests, like slugs, can live under leaves and dead materials.
|December Garden Waste: Gary Pilarchik|
|Clearing the Winter Garden: Gary Pilarchik|
Once generally cleared, the earth about 12 inches. Don't worry about the earth worms they will be fine. The slugs will be disturbed and slug eggs will be disturbed. That is good because there is a good chance that frost on exposed snail and slug eggs will kill them. Plus turning diseased material be it Early Blight (the plague of Maryland) or Powder Mildew you get Mother Nature working for you killing the buried problems.
This is just one step in cleaning and preparing your garden. I will blog about mulches and other things as the Spring arrives. Cool season crops are just around the corner.
Notice the waste in front of the beds. That will all get bagged and thrown out.
|Cleared, Cleaned and Turned for Winter: Gary Pilarchik|
|A Different View of a Turned Garden: Gary Pilarchik|