Vermicompost is the product or process of composting using various worms, usually red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms mixing up with vegetable or food waste, some decomposable materials like plants dried bedding, and worm manure (vermicast). It is obtained as an organic matter secreted by the earthworm. The final manure after Vermicast contains higher nutrients saturation and reduced the contaminants then raw one. The method of producing vermicompost is known as Vermicomposting. As it contains water soluble nutrients it is used as soil conditioner and as a good fertilizer. In other word it is termed as organic fertilizer.
The cultivation of earthworm to obtain good manure after its digestion as a waste is termed as vermiculture.
There are mainly two ways of preparing vermicompost:-
- Bed Method: This method is widely accepted and easy to perform.
- Pit Method: In this method, cemented pits are used. It is quite unfavorable as proper aeration problem and water logging may arise
The nutrients profile of vermicomposts is:
- 1.6 per cent of Nitrogen.
- 0.7 per cent of Phosphorus.
- 0.8 per cent of Potassium.
- 0.5 per cent of Calcium.
- 0.2 per cent of Magnesium.
- 175 ppm of Iron.
- 96.5 ppm of Manganese.
- 24.5 ppm of Zinc.
- Cow dung.
- Thatch Roof.
- Soil or Sand.
- Gunny bags.
- Weed biomass
- A large bin (plastic or cemented tank).
- Dry straw and leaves collected from paddy fields.
- Biodegradable wastes collected from fields and kitchen.
Commonly used species of Earthworm
Species most often used for composting iinclude:
- Eisenia fetida, (Red wiggler or tiger worm)
- Lumbricus rubellus,
- Eisenia hortensis, (European nightcrawlers)
- Eudrilus eugeniae, (African Nightcrawlers)
- Perionyx excavatus, (Blueworms)
- To prepare compost, either a plastic or a concrete tank can be used. The size of the tank depends upon the availability of raw materials.
- Collect the biomass and place it under the sun for about 8-12 days. Now chop it to the required size using the cutter.
- Prepare cow dung slurry and sprinkle it on the heap for quick decomposition.
- Add a layer (2 – 3 inch) of soil or sand at the bottom of the tank.
- Now prepare fine bedding by adding partially decomposed cow dung, dried leaves and other biodegradable wastes collected from fields and kitchen. Distribute them evenly on the sand layer.
- Continue adding both the chopped bio-waste and partially decomposed cow dung layer-wise into the tank up to a depth of 0.5-1.0 ft.
- After adding all the bio-wastes, release the earthworm species over the mixture and cover the compost mixture with dry straw or gunny bags.
- Sprinkle water on a regular basis to maintain the moisture content of the compost.
- Cover the tank with a thatch roof to prevent the entry of ants, lizards, mouse, snakes, etc. and protect the compost from rainwater and direct sunshine.
- Have a frequent check to avoid the compost from overheating. Maintain proper moisture and temperature.
After the 24th day, around 4000 to 5000 new worms are introduced and the entire raw material is turned into the vermicompost after 4-6 months.
Source: https://byjus.com/biology/vermicomposting/ Vermicomposting- A Step by Step Procedure to Vermicomposting
- Helps in better germination, growth, and yield.
- Increases the fertility and water-resistance capacity of the soil.
- Helps in developing roots of the plants.
- Helps to treat soil with plant growth hormones such as auxins, gibberellic acid, etc.
- Makes the physical structure of the soil much good.
- Moisture level must be maintained in balance.
- Time-consuming, around 6 months for final product.
- Helps in growth of pests and pathogens such as fruit flies, centipede and flies etc
- Needs high maintenance. The feed has to be added periodically and care should be taken that the worms are not flooded with too much to eat.
- Foul odour.
Content Credit: Suman Ghimire, Intern Content Writer, Krishi Master Nepal, 2020