“Vermicomposting is a process in which the earthworms convert the organic waste into manure rich in high nutritional content.”
What is Vermicomposting?
Vermicomposting is the scientific method of making compost, by using earthworms. They are commonly found living in soil, feeding on biomass and excreting it in a digested form.
Vermiculture means “worm-farming”. Earthworms feed on the organic waste materials and give out excreta in the form of “vermicasts” that are rich in nitrates and minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and potassium. These are used as fertilizers and enhance soil quality.
Vermicomposting Process Steps:-
The process of converting organic waste into worm castings is known as vermicomposting. Worm castings are extremely beneficial to soil fertility. Nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium are abundant in the castings. Castings have five times the accessible nitrogen, seven times the available potash, and twelve times the calcium of healthy topsoil. Let’s check out the Vermicomposting process steps.
Earthworm castings have been shown to have good aeration, porosity, structure, drainage, and moisture-holding capacity by several researchers. The permeability of water in the soil is improved by the content of earthworm castings, as well as the natural tillage provided by the worms’ digging movement. In water, worm castings may hold up to nine times their weight.
For a long time, “Vermiconversion,” or the use of earthworms to convert the trash into soil additives, has been used on a limited scale.
Vermicompost application should be done at a rate of 15-20%. The excreta of earthworms, which is rich in humus and nutrients, is known as vermicompost.
What are the benefits of Vermicomposting in Agriculture?
● Suppression of pathogens
Vermicompost, according to research, does not destroy pathogens in the soil; rather, it prevents harmful microorganisms from becoming severe and harming your plants.
● Delivery of nutrients
Vermicompost often has higher quantities of plant available nutrients, notably nitrogen and phosphate, than ordinary compost.
● Retention of water
Due to its amazing water retention qualities, you’ll be astonished at how thick vermicompost is. Adding vermicompost or worm castings to the soil in places with depleted – or diminishing – water sources and/or soil rich in sand or clay can assist in keeping the water in the soil and saving that valuable resource.
● Microorganism population growth
Vermicompost may support a healthy microbial population by including beneficial fungus and bacteria. Organic material in healthy soil is thought to make up roughly 5%, but in over-farmed soil, that figure has dropped to 1%. Enriching the soil with vermicompost can help in the restoration of that equilibrium.
● Elimination of pests
Vermicompost, like diseases, can not kill or repel pests, but it can assist them to avoid assault.
● Plant growth control and increased yields
Several studies suggest that applying vermicompost or worm castings to crops such as strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables increases production. Hormones that govern and encourage plant development can be found in some vermicomposts.
● Remediation of polluted soils
It’s beyond the scope of this essay to describe how, but several studies have demonstrated that earthworms and the bacteria present in living vermicompost can repair soil polluted with hydrocarbons, agrichemical pollution, heavy metal free radicals, and other contaminants.
● Materials for Vermicomposting
Composting materials include decomposable organic wastes such as animal excreta, kitchen trash, farm leftovers, and forest litter. The main source components are animal excrement, mostly cow dung, and dried chopped crop leftovers. The quality of vermicompost is improved by mixing leguminous and non-leguminous agricultural leftovers.
Earthworms come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including red earthworms, nightcrawlers, and others. Because of its fast multiplication rate, the red earthworm is selected because it turns organic waste into vermicompost in 45-50 days. It turns organic materials into vermicompost from the top since it is a surface feeder.
Bed method :-
Composting is done by making a bed (6x2x2 feet) of organic material on the Pucca / Kachcha floor. This strategy is simple to follow and put into practice.
Composting takes place in concrete pits measuring 5x5x3 feet. Thatch grass or any other locally accessible materials are used to cover the unit. Due to inadequate aeration, water clogging at the bottom, and higher production costs, this approach is not recommended.