Composting is not an exact science. Experience will tell you what works best for you. If you notice that nothing is happening, you may need to add more nitrogen, water, or air. If things are too hot, you probably have too much nitrogen. Add some more carbon materials to reduce the heating. A bad smell also may indicate too much nitrogen.
Cold composting often proceeds faster in warmer climates than in cooler areas. Cold piles may take a year or more to decompose depending on the materials in the pile and the conditions.
Adding kitchen wastes to compost may attract flies and insects. To prevent this problem, make a hole in the center of your pile and bury the waste. Do not compost meat scraps, dead animals, pet manure, diseased plant material, or noxious weeds.
Check on any local or state regulations for composting in urban areas - some communities may require rodent-proof bins.
Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture