Can you identify this and the beginning of a garden

Can you identify this and the beginning of a garden

Does anyone recognize this? There are tons of them growing in a wooded area behind my apartment. This is my first year gardening in an actual garden (at the city's community garden) rather than in pots. My plot is covered in what looks to be intentionally planted ground cover--some sort of grain or grass maybe? (Remember, I am REALLY new to this!) I'm not sure you can tell much by the photo, but here's a photo showing a corner of my plot. I'm not quite sure where to begin. Do I turn under this dead stuff? Remove it? Or? I'm not sure it matters, but I'm in western Massachusetts, zone 5.
Untouched Canvas

Untouched Canvas

Belgin Mums

Belgin Mums

Please help identify this plant

Please help identify this plant

Edible Landscaping

Edible Landscaping

Funny looking Eggplant

Funny looking Eggplant

whats wrong with this plant

whats wrong with this plant