Saturday, November 15, 2008

Collecting Earthworm Locally

Different soils have different species of earthworms and choosing a local or native species of earthworm for a given soil type and for vermicomposting is an important step. There is no necessity to import or transfer earthworms from elsewhere. The advantages of using local varieties of earthworms are many. It is not advisable to use alien species as history is littered with examples of confrontations between indigenous and foreign organisms. Although the introduction of foreign species of earthworms has time and again been justified by a few scientists, it is inadvisable and undesirable to tamper with the local biodiversity.

Collecting local varieties of earthworms is a very simple and pleasurable job for a Earthworm Farmer. Soil near organically maintained trees or open culverts carrying organic wash water from domestic kitchens or restaurants, where worms are generally noticed and which is rich in vermicastings, is first identified. Handfuls of cattle dung are scattered over a one m2 area, followed by hay or leaf litter, and covered with an old jute cloth or jute bag. The place is kept moist by regular watering (not flooding with water). In about a fortnight’s time, both surface and sub-surface worms may be observed in that place. The worms should then be transferred for culture along with some quantity of native soil. This ensures not only survival but also the passive inoculation of cocoons from the area of collection.

If the first attempt is not very successful, then 1 kg of jaggery and 1 kg of
fresh cow dung dissolved in 20 litres of non-saline water should be applied to
that area once or twice a week to attract earthworms. (Do not try this on places
where there are absolutely no earthworms.)

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