5 steps to make Vermicompost – Organic Manure


Vermicomposting:

natural fertilizerVermi-composting is composting with worms is super easy and great for plants. All you need is a bin/container that you put some worms in and some organic material recycling at source is most economic and environment friendly method of waste management.

Natural fertilizer/ Organic manure provides the food needed for a plant to grow after a seed has germinated in the soil. This food consists of plant nutrients. The most important of these nutrients are nitrogen (N),phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). There are also many other chemicals needed by plants in small quantities, e.g. copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), sulphur (S) and others. These are called micronutrients or trace elements. Natural fertilizer also provides organic matter called humus for the soil. Humus is a black or brown spongy or jelly-like substance. It helps the soil have a good structure to hold water and air. One of the best natural fertilizers is mature compost because it feeds the soil with humus and plant nutrients. The growing plants take their nutrients from the top layer of the soil where their roots grow.

Micro-organisms(fungi and bacteria) smaller animals (many types of worms, including earthworms, nematodes, beetles and other insects) turn waste materials into mature compost. These are found naturally in good fertile soils like those from forests, animal dung and old compost. Adding any of these to new compost helps in the decomposition process.

Composting:

process of decomposition of organic waste by micro-organism natural process (be made faster and more effective by mixing various types of waste and adjusting moisture, temperature and aeration)contains NPK and other plant nutrients including micro-organisms.

Vermicompost is stable, fine granular organic manure, which enriches soil quality by improving its physicochemical and biological properties. It is highly useful in raising seedlings and for crop production. Vermicompost is becoming popular as a major component of organic farming system.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.

 Steps to make Vermicomposting:

Vermicomposting unit should be in a cool, moist and shady site

1.Cow dung and chopped dried leafy materials are mixed in the proportion of 3: 1 and are kept for partial decomposition for 15 – 20 days.

  • A layer of 15-20cm of chopped dried leaves/grasses should be kept as bedding material at the bottom of the bed.
  • Beds of partially decomposed material of size 6x2x2 feet should be made

2.Materials for partial decomposition

Shredded newspaper

Manure

Leaf litter

Coir (Coconut fiber)

Wood chips

Dampen bedding with tap water

Calcium carbonate to control pH

Mix well

3.Add the worms. Before adding the worms, find out how many worms you are starting with. The easiest method is to weigh the worms. If you do not have access to a scale, determine the worms’ volume. The amount of worms is important for knowing how much food to feed them and for record keeping.

Eisenia fetid, or red worms, are the best worms for your vermicomposting bin.

4.Bury food scraps under bedding. Feed the worms fruit and vegetable scraps that would normally be thrown away, such as peels, rinds, cores, etc. Limit the amount of citrus fruits that you place in the bin. NO MEATS, BONES, OILS OR DAIRY PRODUCTS.

  • Cut or break food scraps into small pieces–the smaller, the better.
  • Measure the amount of food. Feed worms approximately 3 times their weight per week. Monitor the bin every week to see if the worms are or are not eating the food. Adjust feeding levels accordingly. (If you start with one pound of worms, add 3 pounds of food per week.)
  • Bury food scraps in the bin. Lift up bedding, add food scraps, then cover food with bedding.

5.Routine check :

regularly check moisture

harvest vermicompost every 3 to 4 months

store harvested compost for 2-3 weeks and then remove the young worms

 

Advantages:

organic manurerecycling at source

economic and environment friendly waste management

simple methods available

compost is valuable resource for gardeners/farmers

Vermicompost supplies:

Nutrient-rich organic fertilizer

Humus is beneficial to plant growth

Humic acid

Binding site for plant nutrients

Increases soil texture and aggregation

Improves permeability

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