Vermicompost a Black Gold out of Domestic Waste
Vermicompost is an enriched compost made using earthworms by decomposing wastes, it is considered as one of the best methods to recycle biowaste into a high-quality compost which is widely used in organic farming, a component for the potting medium used for grow bag farming and filling plant pot. It is fine granular organic manure that enriches soil quality by improving its biological and physicochemical properties.
Earthworm consume biomass and excrete it in a digested form called worm casts or black gold, these are rich in nutrients, growth-promoting substance, beneficial soil microflora
Decomposable organic waste such as animal excreta, kitchen waste, farm residue, and forest litter is commonly used as composting materials. In general animal dung mostly cow dung and dried chopped crop residues are the key raw materials
Vermicomposting of Farm waste
Pits/tank of size 2 to 3 m length,1m breadth, and 0.3m depth or well rings are taken in roofed sheds with sides left open. The bottom and sides of the pit are made hard by cement concrete. At the bottom of the pit, a layer of biomaterials such as coconut husk or crop residue spread to ensure drainage of excess water and also for proper aeration. This biomaterial is moistened and above this bio-waste mixed with cow dung in the ratio of 8:1 is spread up to a height of 30 cm above the ground level and water sprinkled daily. After the partial decomposition of wastes for 7 to 10 days, the worms are introduced @500 to 1000 numbers per pit.
- The composting area should be provided with sufficient shade to protect it from direct sunlight.
- The adequate moisture level should be maintained by sprinkling water, whenever necessary.
- Preventive measures should be adopted towards off predatory birds, ants, rats.
Vermicomposting of Household Wastes
Take a plastic container or a grow bag with a broad base and drainage holes may be selected. A layer of soil of 3 cm depth and a layer of coconut fiber of 5 cm depth may be added above it, for draining of excess moisture. A thin layer of compost and worm may be added above it. About 250 worms are sufficient for the box. Vegetable wastes each day can be spread in a layer over the coconut husk fiber. The top of the container may be covered with a piece of the sac to provide dim light inside the box. When the container becomes full it can be kept without disturbance for a week. When compost is ready the box can be kept outside for 2-3 hours so that the worms come down to the lower fiber layer. Compost from the top may be removed dried and sieved.
Advantages of Vermicompost
- Vermicompost is rich in all essential plant nutrient.
- Provides excellent effect on overall plant growth, encourages the growth of new shoots/leaves, and improves the quality of the produce.
- It is free-flowing easy to apply, handle and store.
- It does not have a bad odor.
- It improves soil structure, texture aeration, and water holding capacity and prevents soil erosion.