Saturday, November 15, 2008

Earthworm Farming using Vermicompost

The compost prepared by using earthworms is called vermicompost. Vermicompost is very important aspect of an organic farming package. It is very easy to prepare a vermicompost and should be harmless to plants.

While vermiculture is culture of the earthworms, vermicastings are faecal matter released by the earthworms.

Earthworm can be raised in different type of shed, tank or even in container or basket. A compost pit of any convenient dimension can be dug in soil of Garden, back yard, corp field. In a city or unavailability of soil, you can make a tank with cement of size 2m x 1m x .75m, which is very easy to manage. When making Earthworm Raising vermiculture, Either plastic, wooden or rubber container can also used to do so. Just remember to enable water which is sprayed to the vermicompost to drain out.

The vermibed comprises a base layer of small peace of stone, bricks mixed with sand and thickness of 6 to 7.5 cm, which will allow you to keep your drainage system on your earthworm culture. On top of this layer, add minimum 15cm thickness of local soil and add 75 to 100 number of locally found Earthworms. One should also place
small quantities of cattle dung at different places on the soil and top it with a
layer of straw or hay not exceeding 10 cm. These serve as feed providing
nitrogen and carbon to the worms for their growth and multiplication.

The earthworm pit is to be in the shade or covered with fronds or old jute bags and liberally watered. The weep holes at the bottom, in the case of containers and tanks, will enable excess water to run out. The entire bed must be kept moist, but should not be soggy. The moisture should be maintained at a regular degree for about thirty days after the introduction of the worms. During this period, the earthworms multiply in number and then one can commence laying organic wastes or domestic refuse layer by layer periodically on the vermibed. As the organic waste is deposited, it decomposes and is gradually digested through the intestines of the earthworms.

The organic wastes in the pit may be turned over occasionally. Once the pit is filled up completely and the composting is complete, one can reduce the use of water, so that the earthworms migrate below. The rich compost can be removed and the process started all over again on the same vermibed. Passage of material through the earthworm gut converts the locked-up minerals into available forms which are readily assimilable by plants. This is made possible by a large number of microflora in the gut of earthworms. Moreover, castings produced by the earthworms have a bacterial population nearly 100 times higher than in the surrounding soils.

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