Ok, so I'd like to start composting -- for several reasons. First, I would rather recycle my yard and kitchen waste than dump it in a land fill. Second, I want that good soil! My problem is, I live in the city and don't have much land.
We have racoons that visit us nightly, so my composter must be something contained, so we don't end up with water melon rinds all over the neighborhood. But, I see these puny little compost tumblers that I can fill in one rake of my yard and a couple of days in the kitchen, and I'm wondering whether I can accomplish my first goal -- recycling all my yard and kitchen waste.
I am building a 3 x 3 x 3 vented container that has a chicken wire, hinged top to keep out the raccoons but allow me access. What I don't understand is if I fill my compost container once -- then that's it for however long it takes, right, which could be at least 6 weeks? There's no continuous process of taking soil out and putting stuff in, is there?
I would HIGHLY recommend that you look into worm bins. I keep mine in the laundry room, and have kept it in the kitchen. It's MUCH easier and faster than composting. Then keep your ward waste in a pile outside, and use it for mulching.
I have two vertical compost tumblers I built from plastic barrels. The lids have to be secure enough to spin the whole barrel upside down. I think they'd be secure enough to keep critters out.
I hate to burst your bubble, but six weeks is not long enough to make compost... its a slow process. There are much larger compost bins available, but they can also be expensive.
Most people are not "filling their bin" all at once. It's a continual process... I wrote this post on my blog a couple of years ago... maybe you'll find some of the info helpful? http://gardenfordessert.blogspot.com/2010/09/easy-composting-101.html
3x3x3 is the size I started with when I lived in the city and it worked. Do you have somewhere to put your finished compost? I now have a 3-bin system--cooking compost, almost ready, and ready (in addition to 3 free-standing piles near my raised beds). Add your yard waste and water a bit (don't soak), then another layer of whatever you have and water a bit. A pile needs to be turned (I do it almost every day because I like to but once a week is fine) to speed up decomposition. It shouldn't be dry or it will take forever to compost!
We used to live an area rife with racoons. Nobody in their right mind would put their trash out the night before. That said, I never had a problem with racoons raiding the compost pile. I think as long as you stick with vegetable matter, you should be okay.
If you keep a worm bin, you'd have harvestable juices from the run off in 6 weeks.