I live near Portland, OR and I can't decide what I should do with my raised beds this year. I want to protect the soil in my raised beds during the winter, so that they don't get compacted and hard by the time spring comes around. Can I do this by just growing vegetables in the raised beds or should I use cover crops or something else? Could I do both? I wanted to try this, but worried that maybe cover crops would grow like invasive weed sand overtake the whole bed and the vegetables, but I don't know much about cover crops. I know this is the time to plant cover crops and planting things like garlic (which I recently bought and need to plant), so I thought I should ask before it's too late to plant anything. Also, what cover crops would you recommend for zone 8?
Also, are there alternatives such as placing a tarp, cold frame, mini greenhouse, etc. over the raised beds? Any help you can give me is much appreciated, I'm still a learning gardener. The only thing I planted for a fall garden was kale, 1-2 years ago.
Thank you so much in advance for all your help!