In short, you will need three things for your compost. I will go into more detail about each. You will need:
Water is a key ingredient for a compost pile to thrive. Without this moisture, your pile will take months to do anything. If dry enough, your compost won't break down at all. You can tell if your pile is too wet, if it become smelly and slimey, and the ratio of good/bad bacteria will be "off". The bad bacteria will have outweighed the good. The goal is to help it remain damp, but not dripping wet. If you do not get enough rainfall to keep it just right, you can dump a bucket over it once a week to get and keep things moving.
One way to test if things are going well, is if the compost pile is hot in the middle. This is important to sterilize the compost. It also kills the weed seeds and any bad "stuff" that is in there. (like any harmful bad bacteria, etc.) The heat is proof that the ratio is working just right for your compost pile.
"Green material" would include the following things:
(Kitchen scraps, would cover a lot of what could be termed green material.)
Peelings (potato, carrot, apples, etc)
manure (only barn yard animals, no cat or dog waste)
(Important, No greasy meats or anything with grease in it can be used. Keep strictly to the above items or things like them. Other than that, almost all kitchen scraps can be used.)
Green material is high in nitrogen, and great for the garden.
"Brown material" would include the following things:
Small branches or twigs
Cornstalks and other general kitchen scraps
(Brown material is high in carbon, and works wonderfully with the nitrogen)
You can use stems or any parts of herbs, for example for this. Put it back in the bin.