New Years Resolution: Harvest compost in an arid climate by the summer?

The wife got onto this green California kick of eliminating the (gray) trash can altogether in favor of (blue) recycling and (green) compost.
She seems to think she can harvest her compost by the summer, which she started on the first of January by daily collecting the household food waste (bread, pop tarts, cereal, leftover chocolate candies, chicken bones, fish skin, pizza crusts, eggshells, pasta, too-crisp bacon, etc.) in a kitchen tupperware container.
Once a day she dumps that into a large green bucket outside, and throws a pile of soil on top to cover it from the animals and sprays water over the top to soak it. The green compost bucket is about chest high so the chance of actually mixing the compost is slim at best.
That's all well and good - but having no experience with compost, I wonder how long it will take for her to harvest the results.
She seems to think by summer it will be ready. I think it will take much longer than that.
The question is: How long will it be before compost is usable for gardening?
Note: We live in the northern California arid climate (it won't rain for 10 months and then in the winter, it will very lightly rain for a few weeks at a time). Once in a blue moon there will be a downpour - but that's rare so she'll have to keep wetting it herself.
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You've got some bad things in the compost, chocolate, bones, bacon aren't good. No meat products and I'm not sure about chocolate but it sounds wrong.
I mainly compost leaves, the coffee grounds and other household items barely make a dent. A good portion of the pile breaks down from fall to mid-summer.
--
Dan Espen

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On Mon, 09 Jan 2012 12:05:07 -0500, Dan Espen wrote:

I wonder why.
Seems to me everything biodegrades to the basic chemicals of life.
So why wouldn't chocolate be just as good (or better) as leaves. Both degrade to carbohydrates, for example.

So a year would seem perfect if a 'good portion' breaks down in 3/4 of a year. Right?
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Fats take longer to break down and will attract pests. They stink when they break down.

It's an ongoing process. At the bottom you will find soil after 6 months or so. After you have the soil you need to figure out what you're going to do with it.
For me, I compost a lot of leaves. I don't turn it, way too much work. By August, I rake off the leaves on top and there's about a foot of compost.
I usually sift it all and then spread it on the lawn.
--
Dan Espen

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On 1/9/2012 11:48 AM, sam bruno wrote:

You gotta feed 3 trash cans? What a PITA. We just got one for recycling and they won't take yard waste. It and the main trash can are big. When they dropped off the second one, I facetiously asked, "Where the fuck can I keep my cars?"
I don't compost deliberately but have places I can put yard waste to deteriorate.
If you look it up, there is a need to aerate the compost. I'd also keep food stuff in compost to the minimum but some places do road-killed deer so you can get away with it.
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On 1/9/2012 6:54 PM, Frank wrote:

I used to burn yard waste but they banned burning.
Then I took it to the local landfill but they stopped accepting it.
So now I just bag yard waste and take it for a little ride on a moonless night, if ya know what I mean.
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First they came for the leaf burners, and I did not speak up because I wasn't a leaf burner. Next, they came for the landfills. I did not speak up, because I wasn't a landfill.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak up.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
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I used to burn yard waste but they banned burning.
Then I took it to the local landfill but they stopped accepting it.
So now I just bag yard waste and take it for a little ride on a moonless night, if ya know what I mean.
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I don't think the bones will compost in years, the other stuff maybe in 6 months.
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The fastest composts are made from a mix of materials having a carbon to nitrogen ratio of 30:1, kept moist as a wet but not dripping sponge, and chopped up to provide more surface area for the process. As soon as the center of the pile cools turn the outside to the center. Meat in quantity can create problems but a little here and there is no big deal other than attracting a few scavengers. Anything that does not break down the first time through can be sifted out and added to the next pile.
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In which way the meat can cause a problem beside attracting small rodents which in my case is not a problem? After I harvest the tomatoes in autumn, I just empty the barrel and spread the material in the garden without being composted. Living in Canada, the material I put in the barrel while the winter season is frozen by the cold. In the spring, I empty it again then turn the soil and when I plant the tomatoes, the material is not even composted yet but it does not cause any problem so far. Being spread in the garden, it decomposes a lot faster.
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having a lot of composting material with growing plants, that is not yet composted stuff can cause a shortage of nitrogen just when your new tomato plants need it the most.
never compost stuff with growing plants
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On Sun, 15 Jan 2012 04:49:08 -0800, bob haller wrote:

Why not just collect urine to overcome any need for plant-usable nitrogen?
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