Now is the time to put down a weed barrier that will compost into the soil. Recycled cardboard creates a great weed barrier at anytime of year. It lets the water in, keeps the weeds down, and is not a petroleum product like many weed barriers. Be sure to cut holes to accommodate current plants, with several extra inches of space around so that they have room to grow in the spring.
I know you thinking-- but that looks awful!
Cover it with mulch (which is also on sale this time of year). Your gardens will look great all winter!
Note: use brown unbleached/colored cardboard and remove all tape, etc.
There a lots of different ways to compost inside and out. Because I have such a great source of manure, most of my compostable food items are fed to the chickens or goats. But I do compost things that the goats/ chickens will not eat: coffee grinds, tea, and citrus peels. I find this makes a great compost (highly acidic) for things like my rose bushes. The thing about composting is that while is generally easy, the mix or nutrients is based quite a bit on what you are putting into the compost. Here are some sites that have some great tips: