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January 2018 Update
Thank you to everyone who has subscribed and is following our news! 
Our goal is to produce the ideal backyard composter to enrich soils and keep waste out of landfills.
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What's going on


2017 was a wild ride for Fresh Earth Products, the maker of Speedibin composters. Here are some highlights:
 

Deluxe Speedibin available


After some frustrating summer delays, we are super excited to have the new model of Speedibin with a hinged lid now available. A few of our customers said that they found the lid a bit heavy so we have made the hinged lid version, the Deluxe Speedibin.  The lid holds in place at about 3/4 open and fully open and can still be fully removed by un-pinning it.  However if you, like me, prefer the Classic Speedibin, where the lid slides right off, it is still available with no plans to discontinue production.  So far about 60% of people chose the Deluxe model.  Here is the first Deluxe Speedibin set up in a customer's garden in Courtenay, BC.


New warehouse in Vancouver


In order for this business to expand, we needed a warehouse with shipping capability and we have found it with VK 24/7 Logistics on Annacis Island in Vancouver BC.  They can happily store pallets of Speedibins and then ship them anywhere in Canada and the US. I visited them in the Spring and they seem quite capable of handling our needs.
 

New online store through Shopify


The other game changer for the business this summer was switching to Shopify for our online store.  It has the security and adaptability that we needed.  Our talented webmaster and graphic artist sorted out all complications for the transfer and have now added new products.  We will be able to easily add more cool composting or gardening gear in the future, as well as composting tips, stories and videos.
 

Seedy Saturday displays 2018

 
We will have a display at a few Seedy Saturdays this spring on Vancouver Island.  If you can, come and say hi, check out the new Deluxe Speedibin and tell us about your composting adventures.  Seedy Saturdays are where gardeners trade and buy locally adapted seeds, as well as hear renowned gardeners, and of course see the latest gardening tools like Speedibins.  If you are unfamiliar with Seedy Saturdays, it all started in Vancouver in 1990 and now events are popping up all across Canada and into the US. Lots more at https://www.seeds.ca/Seedy-Saturday.
Here's our lineup:
  1. Qualicum Beach. Saturday 3 February, 10 to 3:30. Qualicum Beach Civic Ctr, 747 Jones St, Qualicum Beach, BC.  "Sew, Grow, Enjoy!".  More at https://www.qbseedysaturday.ca/
  2. Victoria. Saturday 17 February, 10 to 3:30. Victoria Conference Centre, 720 Douglas St, Victoria BC.  More at http://jamesbaymarket.com/SeedySaturday/
  3. Courtenay.  Saturday 3 March, 10 to 3.  Florence Filberg Centre, 411 Anderton Ave, Courtenay, BC"Local Seed = Bountiful Harvest".  More at http://cvgss.org/seedy-saturday-2018/
  4. Nanaimo.  Sunday 4 March, 10 to 3. Nanaimo District Secondary School, 355 Wakesiah Avenue Nanaimo (corner of Wakesiah and 3rd) Nanaimo, BC.  More at https://seeds.ca/swww/index.php?q=events

Compost workshops
 

Joyce McMenamon (yours truly) is giving a workshop on 'Backyard Composting' for the Elder College on Friday February 23, 1 to 3 pm, at North Island College, Courtenay BC.  We'll discuss why, what and how to make awesome compost so you should leave feeling quite confident in your composting abilities.  We'll have a microscope too so we can gawk at the freaky life in rich soil. Good times!  Sign up here. Sorry kids, you have to be 55 or better to attend. 
I'll be giving a workshop at the Nanaimo Seedy Saturday also.  Stay tuned on Facebook.
If you would like a composting workshop at your garden club or group, give me a shout.  Helping people make backyard compost successfully is what we live for!
Speedibin in garden

School food gardens 

School gardens are transformational!  Teach kids how to grow food and they will naturally appreciate where their food comes from, what real food actually looks like, and learn about nutrition, soil building, chemistry, patience, cooperation.  And even math!  Here's a quick quiz from my garden: if a cabbage plant requires 0.5 m2 space, how many plants can you fit in a 1 x 3 m raised bed?  (The answer is 12, I hope.)
We were thrilled to set up three Speedibins at Colquitz Middle School in Victoria BC recently and give a short compost education demonstration to the kids.  Several schools in the Comox Valley BC use Speedibins as well as several in the Edible Schoolyards New York City program. 

We're asking for reviews 

Most of you are Speedibin early adopters and it would be wonderful if you would take a minute to write a review of your Speedibin.  People tend to be more willing to buy something sight unseen if they know that someone else has one and did well with it.  The more people that compost, the less waste goes to the landfill, right?  There are a couple of places where a testimonial would be super helpful. 
1. Our online store in the View Products pages
2. Google Reviews here
The most needed at the moment is on our online store.  There are lots of reviews on Facebook already but please 'like' us.  That makes a difference too.  Hugely appreciate your support with all this!

Composting in winter

Does composting stop in the winter?  Nope, at least not here on the West Coast.  The composting microbes, and even worms, are still working but very slowly, like old food in the fridge.  If you made hot compost in the fall, by filling a bin or pile with mixed carbon and nitrogen rich materials at once, you may have a toasty pile all winter.  We have seen melted snow on ours.  Keep adding the browns (leaves, straw, wood chips, shredded paper, etc.) and greens, small pieces if you can, (kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, weeds, etc.) and make sure it stays damp but not soaked. Topping with a thick layer of leaves will help insulate the compost. 

Even if it is slow now, as soon as the temperature warms, the compost will be a flurry of microscopic activity. This is especially noticeable in the prairies or places where your compost will freeze solid.  At spring thaw, the compost will be roaring with activity and produce usable compost surprisingly fast.  The freezing ruptures particles and allows the decomposition to take off. 

Good news: it’s best not to turn the pile in the winter so that you do not lose heat.  Mixing in some manure or alfalfa pellets (rabbit feed) may increase the microbial activity and therefore the heat.  If you are a keener winter composter, try lining your bin or pile with cardboard for extra insulation.  One Ontario customer wrapped their Speedibin in straw bales and kept the worms wiggling all winter. 
Check out the wild winter worms video on our YouTube channel.  It's 36 seconds and it will amaze you.

Have something to add?

We see this newsletter as a collaborative process, our backyard composting community, so if you have questions, suggestions or ideas for future editions, get in touch and let's share the wisdom.  For more frequent updates and tips, check out our Facebook page (and 'like' us of course).  And we are always interested in comments or suggestions about your Speedibin.  That's how we learn to make the world's best composter. We're always available at compost@Speedibin.com or 1-888-701-2303.  Till next time, happy composting!
Copyright © 2018 Fresh Earth Products, All rights reserved.


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