(Vermicomposting made easy)
Vermicomposting is the process of preparing enriched compost with the use of earthworms, its one of the easiest methods of recycling agricultural wastes to produce quality compost.
Materials Required for 12*4*2 (ft) Vermi bed
- Decomposable organic wastes such as animal excreta, kitchen waste, farm residues and forest litter are commonly used as composting materials.
- In general, animal dung mostly cow dung and dried chopped crop residues are the key raw materials.
- Mixture of leguminous and non-leguminous crop residues enriches the quality of vermicompost.
- Installation of Vermibed
- Add neem leaves to the base of the bed as 1st layer
- Add Rice/Ragi husk as 2nd layer for earthworm aeration purpose
- Spray water to 2nd layer
- Add dry cowdung as 3rd layer
- Add chopped dry straw as 4th layer and spary water
- Add dry cowdung 5th layer and spray water lightly
- Add chopped dry straw as 6th layer and spary water
- Repeat steps number 07 & 08 till the bed is filled
- Light watering after complete filling of the bed and then release worms uniformly into the bed
- Cover bed with gunny bags to retain moisture
- Keep spraying water on regular basis to maintain adequate moisture
- Vermicompost is ready to be harvested in 60-70 days from installation
Features of Vermibed:
- Durable, flexible and crack proof.
- Provision of Net windows for proper cross ventilation.
- Dedicated outlet/port to collect Vermi-wash.
- Protection from termites, ants & mices due to high grade polymer material.
- Production of Vermi-compost, Vermi-wash and Earthworms at the same time.
- Easy to manage and shift.
- Vermi Bed is reusable and economical as compared to traditional method to produce Vermi-compost.
Precautionary Measures in Vermicomposting:
- Compost Material: The compost material must be purely organic. It must be devoid of materials like glass pieces, stones, ceramic pieces, plastic, etc.
- Loading: The vermicompost heap must be filled to the right quantity. It should not be overloaded as overloading causes accumulation of gases and increase in temperature. This would affect their growth and population.
- Drainage Channel: There should be a provision for drainage around the vermicompost heap so that there is no water accumulation. This is especially important during the rainy season.
- Addition of Acidic Substances: Acidic substances like citrus must be avoided. If added they should be added only in small quantities as these acidic substances affect the pH balance of the compost.
- Water Stress: Both dry spell as well as too much water can kill the worms. Therefore, the compost heap must be sprinkled with water daily during summer. The beds must be moisture every alternate day during winter.
- Covering the Beds: The vermicompost beds must not be covered with plastic sheets or tarpaulin. This would lead to accumulation of gases and also increase the heat inside the bed which can be detrimental to the earthworms.
- Protection from Pests: No specific diseases can affect the earthworms. However, they must be protected from pests like rats, termites, birds, ants, etc. For protection from ants, termites and rats, the vermicompost site is sprayed with 5% neem based insecticide before the heap is filled and worms are introduced. The heap ca be covered with a net to protect the worms from predators like birds and pigs.
- Vermicompost is rich in all essential plant nutrients.
- Provides excellent effect on overall plant growth, encourages the growth of new shoots / leaves and improves the quality and shelf life of the produce.
- Vermicompost is free flowing, easy to apply, handle and store and does not have bad odour.
- It improves soil structure, texture, aeration, and water holding capacity and prevents soil erosion.
- Vermicompost is rich in beneficial micro flora such as a fixers, P- solubilizers, cellulose decomposing micro-flora etc in addition to improve soil environment.
- Vermicompost contains earthworm cocoons and increases the population and activity of earthworm in the soil.
- It prevents nutrient losses and increases the use efficiency of chemical fertilizers.
- Vermicompost is free from pathogens, toxic elements, weed seeds etc.
- Vermicompost minimizes the incidence of pest and diseases.
- It enhances the decomposition of organic matter in soil.
- It contains valuable vitamins, enzymes and hormones like auxins, gibberellins
Vermicomposting is an excellent source of alternate income for farmers. The compost after drying can be sold. Similarly, the worms can be sold to other farmers who are looking to start vermicomposting in their farms. It is a good thriving, all-season business for entrepreneurs that involves minimum investment and labour but maximum benefits.