Schedule your composting to begin in the fall. Although it can be started any time of the year, fallen leaves (to provide carbon) are usually abundant in the fall, along with nitrogen-producing clippings from cool-season lawns.
Choose a dirt area that is level, has good drainage, is away from pets, not in the full sun or under a tree, away from buildings and in a convenient location. For a manageable compost pile, keep it between 3 to 5 feet square.
Hammer the stakes into the ground to create the corners for a 3-foot square bin.
Wrap the chicken wire around the stakes, forming the sides of the bin. Connect the two ends of the 12-foot roll of chicken wire, and secure with wire. Secure the chicken wire at the stakes, using the wire.
Cover the floor of the bin with a layer of leaves, lawn clippings or straw.
Add an even layer of about 5 inches of organic materials over the first layer. This can include vegetable clippings, grass clippings, coffee grinds, eggshells, straw, hay, chopped-up corncobs, small twigs and garden debris. Small pieces will decompose quickly.
Add an even layer of manure (from a grain-eating animal, such as a cow or horse) to the pile, about 1 to 2 inches high. If manure is not available, add commercial fertilizer to the pile, at a ratio of 1 cup per 25 square feet. Use 10-10-10 or 12-12-12.
Cover the manure or fertilizer layer with 1 to 2 inches of garden soil.
Sprinkle the pile lightly with water from a garden hose to keep moist, but not soggy.
Add more layers as you acquire the material and turn the pile once a month, using a pitchfork.