Several years ago, National Lampoon did a Martha Stewart Living spoof, it was called Is Martha Stewart Living? One of the articles was "Martha Makes Dirt". Very funny stuff.
Two years ago we started a very loose interpretation of a compost pile. We never turned it enough, never watered it enough and threw stuff in that was not cut up small enough. And it showed. It sort of just sat there looking like a pile of lawn clippings. Both our dogs would eat kitchen scraps from the top of it.
Finally after all the rain and then some heat, we have dirt! We have worms! It is alive and happy and ready to spread over the veggie gardens. Not quite the black gold that Martha makes, this still has a banana peel here and there, but it looks composty enough to me.
I did my tomato area with the Lasagna Garden technique last summer, again with my lazy, don't quite follow the instructions style that I am so good at. You start with layers of newspaper or cardboard placed on a sunny spot of ground, even over totally horrible soil. Then through the fall and winter, you layer lawn clippings, leaves, peat moss, more clippings, more leaves, coffee grounds, compost etc. You don't even have to mix it, just layer it. You get it about 2 feet high and let it sit over the winter. It compacts to about a foot. The plants go in like magic, no weeds and no digging. I surrounded mine with logs, but I wish I had spent some money on something nicer. I'll put in some pictures when I get my gardens planted. I follow the advice of the Sac Bee and wait until around May 1 when the ground warms up. I love when I am advised by professionals to procrastinate.