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Difference Between Compost and Vermicompost

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Food for Soil - An Introduction

IVSAT 2024

The long-term maintenance of rich soil using solely natural ingredients is one of the primary objectives of organic farming. The addition of compost on a consistent basis is one of the most effective strategies to increase the organic content of the soil in both open fields and greenhouses that are grown. A naturally occurring source of fertility and life is the earthworm. It resides in the subsurface and consumes decomposing organic materials to produce soil-nourishing matter.

Compost and Vermicompost

An everlasting gift, composting is an environmentally friendly way to dispose of waste. The term "manure" refers to either compost or vermicompost, which enriches the soil with vital nutrients. To put it another way, manure contains a significant amount of organic matter and contributes essential nutrients to the soil. Manure adds nutrients and organic elements to the soil, increasing its fertility.

Most of the organic matter in manure helps to strengthen the structure. This involves increasing the water-holding capacity of clay soils. Large levels of organic matter, when present in clay soil, improve drainage and help to minimise waterlogging. Compost or vermicompost are two different terms for manure depending on the sort of biological material employed.

Define Composting

Composting involves gathering a mixture of "Greens" and "Browns" at its most basic level. Greens are substances high in nitrogen, such as leaves, grass, and food scraps. Stalks, paper, and wood chips are examples of browns, which are more carbon-rich woody materials. The decomposition procedure is aided by shredding the plant waste, adding water, and maintaining optimum aeration by routinely stirring the material in a method that employs open piles or "windrows."

The organic matter is further broken down by fungi, earthworms, and other detritivores. Aerobic bacteria and fungi control the chemical reaction by converting the inputs into heat, carbon dioxide, and ammonium. Since composting reduces methane production and offers both economic and environmental advantages, it is a better option for the environment than disposing of organic waste in landfills.

Types of Composting

  • Onsite composting uses yard clippings, and food leftovers can be composted in a backyard or on-site. Large amounts of food scraps or animal products should not be composted using this approach. The produced organic fertiliser can be used to improve soil quality.

  • Windrow composting involves making organic waste into long rows termed "windrows" and aerated by manual or mechanical rotating. This method is suitable for enormous volumes, such as those generated by high-volume food-processing companies. Examples: Yard trimmings, grease, liquids, and animal by-products.

Advantages of Composting

  • Composting is a good method for reusing the organic waste we make at home.

  • More than 28% of what we throw away is made up of food scraps and yard waste.

  • Compost is an important tool for making large-scale farming systems better. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are the three main nutrients that garden plants need.

  • It also has small amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, which are also important.

What is the Meaning of Vermicompost?

Vermicomposting is a way to make compost that is better for plants by using earthworms. It is one of the easiest ways to use farm waste to make good compost and recycle the waste. Earthworms eat plant matter and pass it out as worm casts, a digested form. People often call worm casts "black gold."


The casts contain nutrients, substances that help plants grow, and good soil microbes. They also have properties that stop pathogenic microbes from growing. Vermicompost is becoming increasingly popular as a key part of organic farming.

Types of Vermicomposting

The bed method is making a bed of organic material the size of 6x2x2 feet is how composting is done on the pucca or kachcha floor. This strategy requires little effort to keep up and put into effect.

The pit method uses cemented pits of five by five by three feet for the composting process. The exterior of the unit is finished with thatch, grass, or any other material readily accessible in the area. This approach is not recommended since it results in poor aeration, water accumulation at the bottom of the tank, and higher production costs.

Benefits of Vermicomposting

  • It allows for the effective conversion of organic wastes as well as crop and animal leftovers.

  • It is a conditioner for the soil that is both stable and enhanced.

  • It contributes to the reduction of the population of pathogenic bacteria.

  • It aids in the process of lowering the toxicity of heavy metals.

  • It is a readily deployable, low-cost technology.

  • It is an economically efficient and safe nutritional supplement for organic food.

Vermicompost Nutrient Content

Parameters

Content (%)

pH

6.8

Nitrogen

0.50

Phosphorous

0.30

Potassium

0.24

Calcium

0.17

Magnesium

0.06

Differences Between Composting and Vermicomposting

Compost

Vermicompost

The composting process begins with a wide array of discarded materials.

The only ingredient in vermicompost is decomposed organic matter.

Waste that has been broken down biologically can be turned into compost. Composting is an activity that is driven by microbes.

Vermicompost is created when waste is broken down by decomposition. The process of decomposition can be sped up with the assistance of earthworms.

The process of composting requires the utilisation of a larger space or area.

Vermicomposting requires a far smaller space than conventional composting does.

Compost does not include any elements that can regulate plant growth.

Vermicompost often contains substances that act as regulators of plant growth.

Interesting Facts

  • Worms consume double their weight daily. Red worms are superb composters and large eaters.

  • Composting is an excellent way to reduce trash. As a result, if we all compost, we can save a lot of resources.

  • A composting toilet works by breaking down human waste and using the least amount of water possible.

Important Questions

1. List down the nutrient composition of vermicompost.

Ans: The vermicompost consists of following nutrients:

Nitrogen

0.50

Phosphorous

0.30

Potassium

0.24

Calcium

0.17

Magnesium

0.06

2. What are the types of composting?

Ans: The following are the types of composting:

  • Onsite composting uses yard clippings, and food leftovers can be composted in a backyard or on-site. Large amounts of food scraps or animal products should not be composted using this approach. The produced organic fertiliser can be used to improve soil quality.

  • Windrow composting involves making organic waste into long rows termed "windrows" and aerated by manual or mechanical rotating. This method is suitable for enormous volumes, such as those generated by high-volume food-processing companies. Examples- yard trimmings, grease, liquids, and animal by-products.

Key Features

  • Compost and vermicompost are the final products that result from the biological breakdown of trash.

  • The production time for compost is significantly longer than that of vermicompost.

  • Compost does not assist in the growth of plants and requires the employment of more labourers in addition to additional attention and care.

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FAQs on Difference Between Compost and Vermicompost

1. Which is better between composting or vermicomposting? Why?

Composting is the best way to deal with large amounts of organic waste because it is a stable and reliable process. Vermicomposting needs a lot of space.

2. What are the commonly used earthworms in vermicomposting? 

Red wigglers and redworms are good vermicomposters. These two species make wonderful compost.

3. What happens if you leave the compost too long?

If you maintain moisture levels, cover it, and store it in a dry location, compost left in a pile, bag, or container for too long can remain usable for years. 


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