I save my raw vegetable scraps and peels and sometimes add used paper towels in a container in the kitchen. Periodically I dump the container into a lidded bucket on the deck. I might line my compost bucket with newspaper at times. Caleb has been tasked since he was a wee fellow with dumping the compost bucket and covering the contents with soil or at least compost from another section of the compost pile. I've always paid him a quarter for that chore (and sometimes a bonus for a good attitude). Weeds get added to the pile. Bermuda grass gets added after the roots have lain in the sun for several days to completely dry them out.
Here is how the pile looked just over a week ago.
You may be able to see that I have spread cardboard underneath to smother any (especially Bermuda) grass that was under the pile.
I had moved this pile from another spot about a month ago. I transplanted the six tomato plants that my brother had given me to the place where the compost pile was previously located. As you can see, the tomatoes have utilized the nutrients left in the soil from the compost pile. Besides compost, the only fertilizer they've had is one application of water soluble fertilizer.
Here is the compost pile after I added the weeds and bolted kale from the last garden bed we cleared.
I used my trusty manure fork to move the materials. (I think this fork might deserve a post all its own, so instead of going down that rabbit trail now, I'll save it for another post.)
When I moved the pile to plant the tomatoes, I screened out a little of the compost. As you can see, it was nicely decomposed and even had an earthworm in it.
In addition to the compost pile I have for the vegetables, I also have what I call the "ornamental compost pile." That appellation refers to function and not form. I use the compost from the "ornamental pile" to fertilize my flowers, trees, and shrubs. We once got free mulch from the county landfill. I later worried that maybe it had some contaminants in it that I might not want on my veggies, so I just put the weeds from the mulched area into a separate compost pile.
My desultory manner works well for the ornamental pile. I do on occasion turn the pile, but mostly I just let it sit and when I need some compost from the pile, I thrust a shovel in at the bottom and bring out compost. A piece of wire mesh which I picked up for free, set over a bucket, works to screen out the larger pieces that aren't sufficiently decomposed.
I sometimes wonder if there was decomposition in the Garden of Eden. Things rotting seem a little less than perfection, don't you think? But when you think of how the cycle of rotting things helps replenish the still living things, I think I glimpse a little redemption. Compost, glorious compost.