Factors for successful composting!
The microbes need air to work. Make sure they have enough by keeping compost "fluffy." Don't add material that mats together tightly. Turn as often as possible!
Keep your materials about as moist as a well-wrung cloth. Wet, but not drenched. Don't put your pile too far from a water source.
Particle size
Smaller compostables get eaten quicker. So slice it up, tear it up, bruise it, or otherwise rough up your compostables.
Check on your pile by feeling the temperature of the center of the pile, a few inches down inside. Heat means it's working. Ambient air temperatures can slow down or speed up composting, but you can compost in most conditions.
Compost heaps should heap up! Spread too thinly, decomposition will slow. At least three by three by three (feet) is enough to maintain ideal conditions for making compost.

Another big factor is what you add. Broadly, we have greens and browns. All are high-carbon, but greens are high moisture (more alive) and browns low moisture (dead). A bunch of tall grass would be a green. That same grass becomes a brown once it dries out and becomes hay. You want to have more browns than greens to have a well balanced pile. Too many greens can result in bad odors. Too many browns means slow decomposition. You can always adjust as you manage your pile.

Stuff you can put in your compost

Grass and plant trimmings
Kitchen scraps
Fall leaves
Past its prime produce
Coffee grounds & steeped tea
Veggies from making stock
Manure from vegetarian animals
Egg shells, ground
Paper scraps and cardboard, shredded
Cotton, canvas or burlap scraps
Wood shavings or sawdust (untreated lumber only)
Receipts, junk mail, newspapers
Corncobs, melon rinds, citrus peels, apple cores
Jack o lanterns
Beer, wine, coffee, tea
Latex items like balloons or condoms
Herbs & spices that lost their flavor
Pet bedding, feathers
Nut & seed shells
Wood ash & charred firewood
Hay and straw
Seaweed or algae
Lint from the dryer or vacuum

Leave out
Bones, meat
Dairy products
Fatty or greasy items
Items with lots of added salt

@interneteh I've gotten really good these last few years about chopping kitchen debris to a small size *before* pouring it from the inside container into the outdoor bin: SO much easier on the cutting board than outside in the bin itself. I'm still lazy about turning the pile, though. I should do it every week but don't bother unless I'm adding new stuff.

@xenophora You can be lazy if you're not in a hurry. Given time, everything rots. But I'm trying to get this bed ready for spring, so I'm turning it almost every day.

@interneteh I was hoping to ready the rhubarb bed of my dreams this weekend, but it looks like snow. Bah!

@interneteh When it comes to composting, greens are material that is protein and nitrogen-rich and browns are carbon-rich.

It's not about moisture and greens don't become browns when they dry out.

@raye Thanks. I'm not a soil scientist or anything. I've just been doing this for about a decade. I get things wrong.

@interneteh I got the green vs brown lecture from a friend a few years back, and it really helped my compost pile.

Except for when there's excessive PNW rain.

@raye I did most of my gardening in Oklahoma. Different climate of course! But so far my composting is working about the same, and the rain just means I don't have to hose it down.

@interneteh I live near Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo, and they do a twice-annual compost deal with material made from their herbivores, so my spring application often comes from them, and in the fall, I've got something functional from my backyard.

@raye wooooow. Gardening with antelopes and water buffalo. Amazing

@interneteh thanks for the tips! Some places suggest that most condoms aren't fully latex and so shouldn't be used in compost, just an FYI

@interneteh I had no idea you could compost condoms. The idea kinda squicks me out, though. Would they actually break down in residential compost or would it require the higher heat of an industrial composter?

@ink_slinger any 100% latex product can be composted bc it is plant derived. I can't say how fast it is

@interneteh unless you're doing bokashi composting in which case you want the complete opposite -- no air, heavy matting, etc. :_earth:

@waterbear yes! that is a whole other thing. I would like to get into that sometime

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