I covered the whole area with inexpensive weed stopping fabric (I have subsequently used large pieces of corrugated cardboard from my local transfer station/dump), and then scattered recycled car tires on top, with 3 feet or so in between the tires. I cut and removed the side walls of each tire with a very sharp serrated kitchen knife (over several weeks and with some help!), and then marked and cut holes (optional) in the fabric/cardboard to expose the soil below.
Now I have a dozen or more round compost "holes" ready for compost material over the winter. So far I've added leaves, rotten apples, kitchen veggie waste, etc. In the spring, I'll add more dirt, maybe manure, vermiculite, and peat moss in equal amounts.
I'm collecting river stones and old lumber to edge it, so it all looks very intentional and well-planned, even as the cold weather moves in. Next spring I'll have a nice number of round raised beds all ready to plant and enjoy, without a lot of work, and barely any turning over.
Source: Mel Bartholemew's book on square foot gardening talks about the virtues of free stuff to make raised beds. I just used free round things instead.
By Belinda P. from Central NH