Answer: In addition to the green materials from your kitchen and garden, you'll need a source of brown materials: shredded leaves, sawdust, newspaper, etc. You can dump a shovelful of garden soil in with your biodegradables to help introduce organisms to help in the decomposition process. You shouldn't need to water your compost - there will be enough moisture from the green materials. But check to make sure. Grab a handful of material in your compost bin. It should feel damp, like a wrung out sponge. If it isn't, you can sprinkle it with water. Mix it at least once a week; twice a week or every other day is even better. The more you move the compost material, the hotter it gets and the faster it decomposes. You won't need to add perilite to the compost. It should come out of the composter looking like well-shredded mulch.
Composting isn't rocket science; decomposition is a normal breaking down of organic material. It works faster if you feed it with the right amounts of carbon and nitrogen, but it will still decompose if the quantities are not absolute and by the book. Here's what I do. Start with a layer of brown, toss on a layer of greens then cover that with a layer of brown. The layers should be about equal in weight or thickness. This should give you the right combination of carbon and nitrogen. Stir it all together to incorporate some air.
Good luck with your compost!
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