Vermiculture is a
branch deals with rearing and maintaining of earthworms for vermicompost preparation.
Earthworms decompose waste organic materials and given out in a granular form which is
known as vermicompost. It also includes cocoons and young stages of earthworms. It
includes different organic waste material like crop residues, straws, leaves, animal
waste, residues of green manuring crops, household waste material etc.
Generally there are
3200 species of earthworms are occurring in nature. Out of these Eisenia fetida and
Eudrelis eugina are used for preparing vermicomposed.
Two methods are used
for vermicompose preparation.
- The earthworms play a vital role in the
entire process; in ploughing and fertilizing the soil and providing all the needed
nutrition to the plants.
- The earthworms have contributed to
improve the soil structure, soil fertility, promote soil aggregation, encourage favorable
soil reactions and enrich the nutrient status of the soil and in the process promoting the
plant growth and improving the quality of the produce.
- Earthworms churn the soil and make it
- They improve the soil by helping it
achieve proper air, water and solids in the required ratio for maximum plant growth.
- Earthworms improve the water
infiltration rate. Its maze of tunnels increases the soil's ability to absorb water.
- Earthworms bring up minerals and make
plant nutrients more available.
- Earthworms also neutralize soil pH.
Analysis of earthworm castings or manure shows that the soil in the castings has neutral
pH (7) regardless of whether the existing soil is above or below pH (7).
- Earthworms compost plant residues.
- Earthworms stimulate microbial
population. Free-living nitrogen fixing bacteria are more numerous around the sides of the
Steps to be followed
for vermicompost preparation
- The basin of the tree itself can be
used as a vermibed.
- Vermicastings at the rate of about 5-10
kgs. Should be applied per tree depending on the size and age of the tree.
- About 25 kgs. Of any farm yard manure
(FYM) should be applied evenly on the top of the vermnicatings.
- This is then mulched with organic
litter. Slashed weeds available on the farm can be used for this purpose.
- Watering can be done as per the regular
applications itself, ensuring that proper moisture is maintained.
- When all the above steps are followed,
a conducive atmosphere is created for triggering the vermicastings and starting the
- Once the earthworms have the suitable
environment for existence, they start consuming the organic matter and turning it into
- This vermicompost is a bio-fertilizer
enriched with beneficial soil micro-organisms.
- The vermicastings are highly stable and
do not disintegrate thus preventing soil erosion.
- The vermicompost contains all the
essential plant nutrients like N, P and K, thus eliminate usage of any further chemical
Vermicomposting is an
appropriate technique for efficient recycling of animal wastes, crop residues and
agro-industrial wastes. Paddy straw is a wide C: N (80:1) organic material, low in
nitrogen and phosphorus but fairly rich in potassium. In conventional method of
composting, paddy straw takes 6-8 months for decomposition resulting in a poor quality of
compost. The process of conversion of organic materials into manure is chiefly
microbiological and greatly influenced by the proportion of carbonaceous and nitrogenous
materials present in organic wastes.
carbon for cell structure formation and nitrogen for cellular protein synthesis. It was
found that C: N ratio of 30:1 or lower for raw material was desirable for efficient
composting. So, C: N ratio of organic materials poor in nitrogen should be made narrow by
adding nitrogen in the form of any nitrogenous fertilizer to it for better decomposition.
Superphosphate is generally added to fortify the phosphorous content of the compost.
are important in adding faster decomposition process mainly done by microbial actions. An
experiment was conducted in Orrisa taking red earthworm (Eisenia foetida) for the
decomposition of paddy straw in presence of fertilizer sources to add N and P. Dried and
chopped (3-4cm) paddy straw, after thorough mixing with fresh cowdung slurry was
introduced into pots. Nitrogen in the form of calcium ammonium nitrate was applied to
raise the N level of the straw to 2% N and phosphorus as single super phosphate to raise
the total P2O5 content to 0.2%. Watering was done to pots to maintain the moisture content
to 40-50%. After 2 week of preliminary decomposition, red earthworms were released at 10
adults per pot. The experimental results showed neutral reaction of the compost masses
indicating their suitability for soil application. The straw decomposition was 91% by
vermiculture in presence of fertilizer N & P which was greater than the control. The
C:N ratio decreased to 10:1 due to earthworm activity alone and further decreased to 8:1
when inoculated in presence of N+P, showing better influence for the decomposition of a
wide C:N ratio material like paddy straw. The earthworm population was increased by 16-20