The heat that is generated from the breaking down of organic matter into compost is known as hot composting. There is also cold composting, it doesn’t take as much of a commitment from you to upkeep or manage but it does take quite a bit longer to yield results.
Hot (or active) composting uses microbes to breakdown the matter. Some experts will recommend you inoculate the compost with live organisms purchased from a gardening supply store in order to get the process started. While others will recommend adding in healthy top soil as it also contains live organisms that will convert your organic matter into compost material. Either way, once the process is started your compost pile will generate heat. You should tend or check on your pile every second day to ensure good air circulation is maintained and that the right level of moisture is kept.
If you do not have the desire or time to maintain a regular compost bin, starting a cold compost (or slow compost) may suit you better. In a cold compost, you are only using your yard waste and grass clippings instead of a combination of outdoor material with your kitchen scraps. All that is required of you is to pile your leaves and grass clippings into a pile and wait. The process is slow and long – it will not yield usable compost for up to one year. Be careful not to put in any weeds or other undesirable plants, as there is no heat they will survive the composting process and can grow again when you use the finished material.
If you generate quite a bit of yard waste and it is too much to include in your regular compost bin consider using both methods. You can have the best of both composting methods.