A healthy, efficient compost pile consists of organic material from plant sources. Compost piles with a variety of different material in them compost the most efficiently and produce the most nutritious compost. Ideally, your compost pile should have an equal amount of green compost material (nitrogen-rich kitchen waste like fruit and vegetable trimmings, or green plants) and brown material (carbon-rich material like dried leaves, pine needles and hay).
Cut or shred all organic material to be composted into the smallest pieces possible. The smaller the pieces, the more quickly they will compost.
Add the organic material to the pile. Each time you add material, add equal amounts by volume of brown material and green material. For a list of common green and brown compost materials, see the Resources section.
Add a handful of garden soil to the pile. This will introduce a fresh supply of the organisms responsible for turning the compost into humus.
Use a shovel to turn the compost pile.
Repeat Steps 1 through 4 until the compost pile reaches between 3 and 5 cubic feet. Then stop adding new material to the pile and turn it weekly until it turns into humus.