You can make nature's best, complete fertilizer from your own grass clippings, leaves and kitchen scraps with compost bins.Gardeners call it "black gold," because it is so rich in nutrients and adds so much value you when add it to your soil.
The key to composting is the mixture of brown to green material. Usually the rule of thumb is that you should have 3 parts 'brown' (so, dried leaves, hay, straw, even shredded newspaper, etc) to 1 part green (kitchen scraps - no meat, just vegetable matter). I've even heard as high as 5 parts brown to 1 part green. The point is more brown is required. Then it'll go a lot faster than 2 years :-)
I have found it to be amazing how fast the food scraps and grass clippings turn into compost. I had not heard of the brown/green ratio before, but will keep that in mind. I just have a cylindrical plastic fence (well, two of them) - open on the top and bottom - that I throw stuff into. I turn it with a pitchfork at least once a week. I have two piles and when I use the compost from one in the garden, I save a bit of the older pile and dump it into the newer pile - sort of like sourdough bread I guess - I keep passing along the culture.
Just a little FYI on composting...in some cities they will collect food scraps to compost at the recycling/trash center or "dump" if you will. I know here where I live (Vermont) they collect it in Burlington at the Intervale and sell it through Gardners Supply. The Intervale is also where there is a CSA :0)
I heard that adding earthworms to newly started compost that it would help the process along as well. Just remember to pick them out. This was for a small batch started in a plastic storage bin(covered) with holes all over for ventilation and moist shredded newspaper then a little bit of soil & veggi scraps. I havent tried this method but I thought I would just share it. The earth worm count was about 100.
I was just reading in "square foot gardening" that when a compost is ready, depends on how often you turn it. If you turn it every day it can be ready in two weeks. I really like this book for beginners.