What is Vermicomposting?

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Vermicomposting is a science of manufacturing compost. Earthworms that are inhabited to the soil get their nutrition from engulfing biomass and digested biomass is excreted, forming a hummus-like material known as vermin-compost.

Vermicompost is Superior to Other Conventionally Produced Compost in a Number of Important Ways:

  • Vermicompost acts as an inoculant in the production of compost.

  • Worms have several other possible uses on farms, including value as a high-quality animal feed.

  • Vermicomposting supports supplemental income as it does not require farmers to spend fortunes of fertilizers from the market.

Vermicomposting has immense uses in the society where agriculture is the main source of living. It can be practiced by small-scale industries which uses organic matter from household wastes, farmers who use manure can use vermicomposting on large-scale, or by industries that manufacture food by using the husks and leftovers of the vegetables and fruit which they use to prepare their food. It is an effective way of handling waste and has the following qualities:

  • It is hygienic, accepted by the society, with minute or no odor

  • It requires no external energy inputs for aeration

  • It decreases the extent or quantity or waste accumulation by 30% approximately. 

  • It generates a efficient vermicompost byproduct

  • It even multiplies the number of worms for fishing bait

There are Two Methods:

  • Bed Method: the organic matter is arranged in the form of bed in this method. 

  • Pit Method: As the name suggests, Pits made of cement are made which collect organic matter. The use of this method is less prevalent as the organic matter does not get sufficient air and water can also be accumulated. 

Advantages of Vermicompost Method

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  • Organic wastes from kitchens or farms can be digested by earthworms, which results in a material with no toxicity and has a well-built structure. This has a potential to gain a greater economic value in the market, and furthermore acts as a material that can condition the soil for salubrious plant growth.

  • Vermicompost contains minerals that are necessary for the growth of the plants, improves the availability of nutrients in the soil and hence is a complex fertilizer.

Aim

The most important aim of vermicomposting is manufacturing and generating organic manure that has a greater quality than other inorganic manure, to enrich the soil which lacks nutrition. Wastes generated from the agricultural practices, from dairy and animal industries are disposed in a place which causes very unhygienic environment. Hence, by using these materials, a organically rich manure can be made to grow nutritious plants. 

The aim is to generate vermicompost using organic wastes along with the aid of earthworms.

Principle

The process of vermicomposting is to raise the number of nutrients present in the soil. Compost has a property of allowing water to the plants that are growing. The choice of organism used here are earthworms as the consumer the organic matter and castings are produced when they excrete.  

The Nutrients Profile of Vermicompost is:

  • 0.75 to 1.00% of Nitrogen

  • 0.60 to 0.75% of Diphosphorus Pentoxide

  • 1.00 to 1.50% of Dipotassium oxide

Materials Required

  • Thatch Roof

  • Used or fresh water

  •  Cowdung

  •  Sand or soil

  • Earthworms

  • Gunny bags

  • Weed biomass

  • Dry straw or leaves collected from the fields

  • A large cemented or plastic tank

  • Wastes that are biodegradable collected from kitchen or fields. 

Process of Vermicomposting /Procedure

Preparation of the Compost Pit

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The compost pit can be made of numerous dimensions by digging the soil in the decided area.

It could be a single pit or a tank of a variety of sizes with mortar as well as brick, proper water outlet being mandatory.

Make a column of water at the center of the vermipits (beside the parapet wall) to avoid the ant menace.

The four-chambered pit will allow the natural as well as continuous movement for the  earthworms from the chamber with matter that is fully composed to chamber with waste that has been processed already. 

Preparation of the Vermibed

Vermibed is a loamy and moist soil that is placed down the vermibed. It is about 15 to 20 cm thick.  It is placed properly upon a layer of coarse sand along with broken bricks. 

The loamy soil is then treated with earthworms. 

About 150 earthworms are put into the vermicompost pit. Cow dung which is fresh is discarded in a random way on the compost pit. Along with this, chopped dry leaves, hay and other biomasses are placed on the compost. The compost pit has to be kept humid and moist and should not be allowed to dry, hence regular watering should be done. It should not be too moist or too dry. 

The pit should be protected by old jute bags, or coconut husks or leaves of a bigger plan to keep birds away. Sheets of plastic or impenetrable materials should not be placed as they make the habitat harder for the worms by trapping heat.  Following the initial 30 days, the organic waste from the household that is already digested is spread over the compost to a thickness of 5 cm. Repeat the same two times a week. The compost should be mixed by turning it over in a periodic fashion. 

Watering should be done regularly to maintain The moisture of the pit. The weather is analyzed, and moist or dryness should be provided to the pit accordingly.

Result

How Much Time Will Take for the Organic Matter to Be a Compost? 

In a period of 2-3 months, the compost will be ready. The material will become moderately loose, will weigh less, shaped like granules, black in colour, crumbly and rich with humus.

If the earthworm casting is present on the bed of compost, it means that the compost is ready. 

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Prior to 2 or 3 days of emptying the compost bed, adding water to compost must be ceased. This helps in separation of the worms from the compost. The idea is to keep the compost in the sun so that most of the earthworms move to lower part of compost which is more moist and cold. 

In the multi-pit system, supplying water should be ceased in the first pit, which will allow the worms to automatically migrate to another pit. In the other pit the worms have appropriate conditions for their growth and hence maintained cyclically, and continuous harvesting could be done. 

Vermicomposting turns the green organic waste into dark, nutrient-rich soil, which, due to the presence of microorganisms, maintains healthy soil for growing healthy plants.

Vermicomposting transforms the organic waste which is green in color, to a dark soil which enriches in nutrients. This is mainly because of the degradation of microorganisms, and therefore maintaining a soil which is healthy for growing plants. 

Vermicomposting is one of the very few eco-friendly processes that recycle biomass and wastes of organic matter into a compost which has valuable nutrients. It should be encouraged around the world to encourage nature-friendly methods of waste management.