Composting is an activity that a lot of home gardeners consider taking on but get overwhelmed once they start. After all, it’s just throwing kitchen scraps in a bin and then magically this great organic fertilizer appears. If you’re one of the thousands who has tried to start a composting project, you know that it is not that easy.
I’ve been composting for nearly a decade and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. This all changed after I purchased a Jora composter in 2017. The JK270 model has changed my composting regimen completely.
Learn from my experience over the past five years and make sure that your home composting program is effective from the beginning.
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There are two ways to go about composting at home – you can either create a compost heap or use a compost tumbler. As I said earlier, I’ve been composting for almost ten years so I’ve experimented with both methods. Let’s review each option.
The Compost Heap Method
This is as simple as it comes. You simply layer browns (e.g. leaves, hay or bread) with greens (e.g. grass clippings and kitchen scraps) and then cover with a layer of topsoil and water. As you accumulate more material simply add layers to your existing compost heap. While this is certainly an uncomplicated approach and extremely easy on the pocketbook, you will most certainly face unwanted animal visitors and the need to aerate the heap.
While a pile is easy to build, it isn’t easy to aerate. Aerating is periodically mixing the organic material together to allow the microbes the chance to start decomposing the ingredients.
If you don’t aerate, the inside of your pile will compost but the outer sections will just turn dry.
This is a much more efficient and pleasant-smelling option. A tumbler is a composting bin that is completely enclosed which can be rotated so that the materials mix easily. Also the fact that it is enclosed means that the heat generated from the composting process stays within the tumbler and gets you to your end result faster.
My Path to the Joraform JK270
In my initial attempts at composting, I went full steam into the heap method. I placed a three-sided bin in a corner of the backyard and began to populate my layers with leftover meat and fish, yard clippings, and coffee grounds. For months I labored and even completed a full turn but really had nothing to show for it at the end. My wife was also not pleased with the contribution it made to our overall backyard appearance.
Notice the complete dryness and lack of any results due to not turning the pile.
I began to research other options which led me to purchase my Jora JK270 compost tumbler. While Joraform offers a few different sizes of tumblers, I chose the 70-gallon option which equates to about 9.5 cubic feet. This size falls roughly in the middle and was the perfect size considering the amount of compost that I wanted to generate.
Pros of the Jora Tumbler
One of the biggest benefits of this particular model of Jora compost tumbler is its dual chamber design. This allows you to keep adding materials to one compost bin while the other bin is maturing so you can have quality compost at regular intervals. This is a huge benefit over other composters with just a single bin.
These dual composters will easily compost traditional materials but the higher temperatures also allow it to break down previously non-compostable waste such as fish waste or cooked meats. So go ahead and grab those green and brown materials. Green materials include items such as fruit and vegetable peelings, kitchen scraps, green garden debris and grass clippings. Brown materials are items such as eggshells, hedge clippings, hay, newspapers and wood shavings. There are still some items that you cannot compost which include glossy magazines, diseased plants and coal ash.
Other pros to the Jora are the fact that it is made of high-quality galvanized steel. The sealed bins are perfect for keeping out mice and other rodents so you don’t have to worry about tossing those food scraps into the composter.
Also, the rotation mechanism is easy to use even when the bin is full as it has multiple handles on the tumbler. Even my kids like opening it up to drop a few weeds in and then spinning it like the big wheel on the Price is Right.
The design also includes several aeration holes on the sides to allow in oxygen while you’re tumbling. And as my wife is quick to point out, it’s also much more attractive than the huge pile of material that I had accumulated using the heap method.
And while it is not as important given that I live in the South, the enclosed bins are insulated and allow for year-round composting.
Cons and Drawbacks of the JK270
There are some cons to the Jora JK270 composter not the least of which is the installation itself. I eventually had to enlist a friend to help me so I would safely say that this would be a two-person job for just about anyone. The company has a very thorough and useful video which I highly recommend.
One other negative is the difficulty of removing the compost once it is complete. I find it rather awkward and often leave some on the ground. A large plastic tub will work better than the 5-gallon bucket I use, I just can’t seem to find one when I need compost for planting.
Here are some actual photos of my JK270. It’s a composting bin so it can definitely get messy.
For the aspiring urban gardener, composting is a great option to ensure you have a steady stream of organic fertilizer with the added benefit of landfill diversion. If you’re just getting started the heap method may be best for you. Start-up costs are virtually nil so you could start tomorrow if you wanted. The turnaround time to get your compost though is going to be extremely slow.
If you have any desire to really embrace composting I highly recommend the Jora JK270. I’ve had mine for years and it’s still producing great quality compost. I bought my composter on Amazon (click here to check the current price of the Jora composter).
I think the models from Joraform are the best composters on the market currently. The dual bins, high-quality construction, and well-designed tumbling process allow you to get what you want, beautiful dark compost, faster than other methods.
If you have any question just drop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to follow up with you.