Profile: You weigh grass clippings and leaves before adding them to the pile. You chart the pile's temperature readings to plot exactly when to turn it.
Advice: The ideal carbon-to-nitrogen (C:N) ratio for a compost pile is 30:1. At higher ratios, the decomposition process slows, Shell explains, while lower ratios cause the pile to get a strong, ammonialike odor. The trick to getting the exact ratio is to mix ingredients in the right balance. Grass clippings have a C:N of about 16:1, while sawdust is about 400:1. Check OrganicGardening.com for the C:N ratios of common compost ingredients; then get out a calculator when building your pile.
New for your e-reader or tablet: Compostology 1-2-3.