Our small, homemade composting bin (see Making Some Dirt ) has been one of those rare things that worked exactly as planned. Over the past few months we've been placing left-over vegetables, plant clippings, leaves, egg shells, some paper, and other various refuse into the bin. Every few days I go out and stir it and add a little water. Vegetables, if cut into small pieces, break down very rapidly. Some become completely unrecognizable in just a little over a week. Other materials, such as paper and plant stems, take quite a bit longer. Also, my worries about the smell it might produce were unfounded. It doesn't put off any offensive odor as long as decomposing vegetables are covered by already composted material. It would be nice to have a larger bin, but it is working fine and fits our limited space.