Answer: Usually, for an established planting, the only step you need to take in late fall is to layer mulch on top of the soil surface. This helps prevent freese/thawing cycles and helps prevent erosion, it will also help keep down cool season weeds that might grow in fall or very early spring. The mulch will eventually rot down and help feed the soil.
If you are planning a new garden area, you would remove the existing sod/weeds and loosen the soil at least six to ten inches deep. Then work the (well aged) manure, peatmoss and the topsoil into the soil. You could add other forms of organic matter as well, such as compost or shredded autumn leaves. Rake the surface smooth and top it with the mulch.
I would also strongly suggest you work with your local county extension to run some basic soil tests. Based on the soil tests you may also want to add lime or other amendments. Your county extension should be able to help you with the testing and interpreting the results. This type of recommendation would be the closest you can get to a recipe. They will also be familiar with your local soil type and can suggest proportions of compost, organic matter, and so on to use.
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