Here is an article from the Utah State University Extension on the basics of composting:
You can begin compost either indoors or outdoors. For indoor composting, use a type of bucket and place it under your sink. For outdoor composting, you have more flexibility in the size of bin you can handle. Base the size of compost bin on how much waste you produce, do you have a large family or have a large garden? If your your answer is no to both, begin with a smaller box. If your answer was yes, then make space around your garden for a larger box.
When choosing the location of your compost box, find a site that includes:
· At least 6 hours of sunlight a day.
· A site that does not detract from the landscape.
· Convenient for adding materials and removing compost.
· Available water.
· Acceptable materials.
A compost pile isn't just rotting garbage. Successful compost piles are structured as follows:
· Turn pile every 2 to 4 weeks, and keep pile moist to speed composting, allow air circulation and eliminate unpleasant odors.
· Build pile 3 to 5 feet tall, with and equal circumference. Small piles don't heat enough, and large piles don't receive enough air in the middle for good composting.
· Apply a 1" layer of soil every 8 to 14 inches of organic waste to increase microbial activity
Not Acceptable Material
· Grass Clippings
· Leaves and Weeds
· Coffee Grounds
· Wood Chips and Sawdust
· Bark,Stems, and Stalks
· Gardening and Canning Waste
· Fruits and Vegetables
Needs more oxygen. Turn the pile over more often to increase air circulations. If the material is too wet, add dry materials
Pile is damp, but won't heat?
Insufficient nitrogen, add fertilizer or grass clippings. The materials could also be too wet.
Too much nitrogen, add sawdust or high carbon materials and turn the pile.
· Large Branches
· Dairy Products
· Synthetic Products