Composting also helps cut down on the amount of trash piling up in the landfills, yes the same items will breakdown in a huge garbage lot, but not without emitting nastiness and taking MUCH longer!
There are a few key qualities that go into a compost pile/bin/heap whatever
Air Circulation- You will want to make sure you are getting some air flow throughout your compost bin...every couple of weeks you will want to completely turn the pile and mix it up. This helps get air in new spaces, mix new compostables in and speed up the decomposition.
Water-if you are finding you need to water your garden in between rains, it is likely you will also have to water your compost bin. You dont want it to be soggy and sopping wet, but damp to the touch. Placing your compost bin in the perfect spot makes life much easier. Keeping in mind that it needs to drain and get water.
found this beauty in our inner-city backyard when building our compost bin!
Heat- your compost needs to be warm-hot in order to speed up the decomposition, sure it will all decompose eventually but who wants to wait 3 years, I know I dont! You dont want so much heat that it is drying your compost out either though, so just be wise and look around for the best spot for your pile.
Critters- some critters are a good sign in the compost, and some are not. You want to see worms and other buggies helping to breakdown all of your compost goodies, but you dont want to see rodents or bigger animals like lions, tigers and bears. A couple good ways to avoid the critters you dont want: put chicken wire or mesh all around the bin (I am still looking to get my hands on a staple gun so I can get our netting up on our compost bin) doing so keeps the more sizeable critters out but is holey enough to allow for air circulation still. Another way to avoid larger critters, dont put fats or oils in the compost, obviously I am vegan so I dont have animal fat or fish guts laying around, but if I did they wouldnt make it to my compost pile.....they also take longer to break down.
Some things your compost will love: (keep in mind whatever you put in your compost will go into your garden, so if you are planting an organic garden, keep the items going into compost organic as well!)
kitchen veggie scraps
freezer burned fruits and veggies that you dont personally want to consume
old herbs and spices that might not be as potent can be put right in the compost
hair from your hairbrush or haircut (again only if your hair isnt full of chemicals...whatever goes in your pile goes in your garden!)
house plant trimmings
cardboard (shredded to increase surface area for decomposition)
animal fur from brushing an animal
urine- especially if you are low on nitrogen rich items
menstrual blood- menstrual blood is great for plants and the earth, but the pads and tampons bought in the stores are not, so please dont go sqeezing out your bleached carcinogenic pads into your compost...dumping your diva or moon cup into the compost is great tho!!!!
Compost is a lot of fun to play with, at least for me and my plants will be so happy when I add a bit of the rich dark soil to their homes.