The process of vermicomposting involves the dumping of all wastes like- kitchen wastes, cow dung, jute mats, etc. Earthworms are naturally used in a vermicomposting. The microorganism in the guts of the earthworm eats the organic wastes and breaks them into simpler parts. This procedure produces a fibre-rich carbon-containing humus. The gut of the earthworm also provides optimum temperature, PH, oxygen and other favourable conditions which are required for the efficient growth of a microorganism that carries out the degradation of wastes.
Also, refer to Morphology and Anatomy of Earthworm
To prepare to vermicompost using earthworms and other biodegradable wastes.
This process is mainly prepared to add nutrients to the soil. Compost is a natural fertilizer and it allows for easy flow of water and air for growing the plants. The earthworms are mainly used in this process as they eat the organic matter and produce castings, or “worm poop” through their digestive systems. The nutrients profile of vermicomposts are
- 1.6 per cent of Nitrogen.
- 0.7 per cent of Phosphorus.
- 0.8 per cent of Potassium.
- 0.5 per cent of Calcium.
- 0.2 per cent of Magnesium.
- 1.75 per cent of Iron.
- 96.5 per cent of Manganese.
- 24.5 per cent of Zinc.
- Cow dung.
- Thatch Roof.
- Soil or Sand.
- Gunny bags.
- Weed biomass
- A large bin (plastic or cemented tank).
- Dry straw and leaves collected from paddy fields.
- Biodegradable wastes collected from fields and kitchen.
- To prepare compost, either a plastic or a concrete tank can be used. The size of the tank depends upon the availability of raw materials.
- Collect the weed biomass and place them under the sun for about 8-12 days. Now chop them to the required smaller size using the cutter.
- Prepare a cow dung slurry and sprinkle it on the heap for quick decomposition.
- Add a layer (2 – 3 inch) of soil or sand at the bottom of the tank.
Now prepare a fine bedding by adding partially decomposed cow dung, dried leaves and other biodegradable wastes collected from fields and kitchen. Distribute evenly on the sand layer.
- Continue adding both the chopped bio-waste and partially decomposed cow dung layer-wise into the tank up to a depth of 0.5-1.0 ft.
- Once, after adding all the bio-wastes, release the earthworm species over the mixture and cover the compost mixture with dry straw or gunny bags.
- Sprinkle water on a regular basis to maintain the moisture content of the compost.
- Cover the tank with a thatch roof to prevent the entry of ants, lizards, mouse, snakes, etc. and protect the compost from rainwater and direct sunshine.
- Have a frequent check to avoid the compost from overheating. Maintain proper moisture and temperature by turnings and subsequent staking.
After the 24th day, around 4000 to 5000 new worms are introduced and the entire raw material is turned into the vermicompost in the form of worm excreta.
Vermicomposting is the scientific method of making compost, by using of earthworms which are commonly found living in soil, feeding on biomass and excreting it in a digested form. The complete process is prepared either in pit, tank or heap method. The main benefits of Vermicomposting are:
- Develops root growth of plants.
- Improves the physical structure of the soil.
- Enhances the soil quality with microorganisms.
- Increases the fertility and water-resisting in the soil.
- Helps with germination, plant growth, and crop yield.
- Nurtures soil with plant growth hormones such as auxins, gibberellic acid, etc.
Also refer: Vermiculture
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