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Understanding the Terminology
- the culture of
Vermicomposting - the use of worms for composting organic materials. Vermicompost - the product of vermicomposting containing worm castings, bedding materials as well as organic matter in various stages of decomposition. Vermicasts - excreta of worms Vermiculturist - the Worm Man or a person who farms, breeds and cares for WORMS. eg A professional WORMfarmer is called Vermiculturist.
These invertebrates are classified under Phylum annelida otherwise known as Annelids. As the name implies, an annelid body is divided into similar rings or segments. Worms under this group is divided into three classes. Composting worm species belong to Class Clitellata under Order Oligochaeta. The representative type is the Lumbricus terrestis or the Nightcrawlers commonly known as earthworms. These are also field worms known as Allolophora. Just like the nightcrawlers, they will attack almost all organic matters from below. Nightcrawlers do not thrive during active composting being killed more easily at high temperature.
Male Pores Anus
Diagram of an Earthworm
The ³vermi´ or earthworms are important in enriching the soil with organic matter which comes from biodegradable materials such as dead plants and animals which the earthworms ingest. Vermiculture enhances the growth of plants that provide food along with producing prosperous and financially rewarding fertilizer. as well as an assortment of possible uses for the future. VERMICULTURE .It defines the thrilling potential for waste reduction. fertilizer production.
Vermiculture Systems focus on producing the maximum level of worm biomass possible in a given space. Vermicomposting is defined as the practice of using concentrations of earthworms to convert organic materials into usable vermicompost or worm castings. These systems focus on the waste material and managing it so that it can be successfully and efficiently processed in a worm system. .
They break down organic matter and when they eat. Worms facilitate the amount of air and water that travels into soil. they leave behind castings that are an exceptionally valuable type of fertilizer. . cost effective farm relief." Earthworms are liberated.The earthworm is one of nature's pinnacle "soil scientists. The worms are accountable for a variety of elements including turning common soil into superior quality.
A laboratory experiment in the UK is said to have had a worm in the laboratory for over ten years. Worms can double in population every 60 days. but 2-3 years under the right conditions is common. but no scientific data to confirm this.How often do worms breed? The breeding cycle is approximately 27 days from mating to laying. Do worms take up heavy metals? There is much anecdotal. . How long do worms live? Researchers don't know the extreme of the scale.
Red Worm) Eisenia fetida/Eisenia andreii are the worm species identified as the most useful in vermicomposting systems and are the easiest to grow in highdensity culture because they tolerate the widest range of environmental conditions and fluctuations.Earthworm Species used in Vermiculture Eisenia fetida* / Eisenia andreii (common name. meaning there is no concern over importing potentially alien species to an environment where they might cause damage. . fetida/E. E. and handling and disruption to their environment of all species identified for this purpose. andreii are also common to virtually every landmass on earth.
Average number of young per cocoon: Approximately 2. . Reproductive rate: Approximately 7 young per worm per week under ideal conditions. Temperature range: Minimum. Time to emergence from the cocoon: Approximately 15-30 days under ideal conditions. ideal range. 70° F-80° F. Time to sexual maturity: Approximately 30-95 days under ideal conditions.Eudrilus eugeniae (common name. 90° F. African nightcrawler) This species is used in some vermicomposting systems around the Mediterranean region and in some areas of eastern Asia. 45° F. maximum.
A. . gracilus is used in a few vermicomposting systems in Malaysia and the Philippines. It is also a tropical species with a poor tolerance for cold temperatures.Amynthas gracilus (common name. fetida and is generally considered an easy worm to culture provided appropriate temperatures can be maintained. A. Alabama or Georgia jumper) gracilus is another large worm species well suited for use as bait. This worm tolerates handling and disruption to the worm bed as well as does E.
Perionyx excavatus (common name. Indian Blue worm) Eisenia hortensis (European nightcrawler .
Significance of Vermiculture ? .
of material per household per year from the waste stream. Studies have shown that home composting can divert an average of 700 lbs. but not nearly as high as if leaf and yard wastes are disposed of by conventional means. Municipal composting carries a greater environmental cost. and adhering to them will result in an efficient and successful outcome. The basic principles are quite simple.The art of composting has been part of our global culture since ancient times. .
b) Increased moisture. and plant roots take advantage of the tunnels as easy-growth channels and pathways. c) Increased plant-growth.1. Higher available nutrient content. which is rich in nitrates. This "sponge" has certain qualities that enhance the soil. They also open up channels for oxygen and rainfall to penetrate. a) Increased channels. The tunnels created by worms are coated with mucus. This results in the worm-populated soil becoming wet faster and deeper and consequently the soil that has been in contact with worms holds the moisture longer. Worms in the soil improve the structure through: Creation of a worm-made sponge in the top soil. As a result of the combined action of the worms and their bacteria. . The worms burrow through the soil and break down the root mat.
2. If the nitrogen level is above 20:1 it cannot be absorbed by plants and the soil beneath and surrounding the litter could become acid. A POSITIVE EFFECT ON THE CARBON/NITROGEN MIX. . a) The litter produced by plants mostly has a carbon:nitrogen ratio greater than 20:1. the soluble mineral locked up and the soil itself then becoming less fertile.
The castings produced by worms act as a fertiliser. It can therefore be strongly argued that without the action of worms. Although the rotting is started off by bacterial action. it is accelerated by worms eating the litter and excreting the castings. and this is greatly assisted by worms feeding on the rotting litter. . the forests of the world might be very different. it is essential that the carbon:nitrogen ratio be reduced to 20:1 or less. The same can be said of our fertile plains.b) Therefore.
´ enhanced microbial activity and significant mineralisation of organic Nitrogen . worm worked soils ´ exhibit enhanced water holding capacity. In summary. The beds produce ideal conditions for worms to convert the organic material. ´ improved water infiltration . ´ .c) This conversion process is optimised in the Vermitech vermiculture system.
Working on Vermiculture .
Dig a pit measuring 2 feet x 2 feet x 2 feet. Line the pit with polythene (PVC) sheet to arrest escape of earthworm through crevices. Brick. Cement tank or Wooden boxes can also be used to house earthworms). (Earthen pot. strong sunlight and incessant rains. .Select a place away from direct heat.
.(Bottom of the pit) is filled up to 2 inches with coconut fibre. human excreta. Third layer is the earthworm food. discarded parts of fruits. paper or scrap of cardboards etc. this includes an admixture of cow-dung. Dampen the bed by sprinkling water.The pit is systematically filled with four layers of waste. This feed should be spread till a height of 6 to 8 inches. chopped rice/wheat straw. consisting of sawdust. First layer -. rice husk and sugarcane bagasse. pigs. sheep or biogas slurry. vegetable remnants. droppings of horses. asses. Second layer is 2 inches thick. green foliage.
cover the surface with jute bags and keep them wet by sprinkling water in a judicious way. The jute bags may be turned upside down thrice in the first week. In case no warmth is felt by hands. Water and heat inside the tank assist the organic matter to decay . production of heat inside the pit will cease and will come down to 600Á to 650 Fahrenheit. From one tank. By 4 to 5 weeks.Release about 100 earthworms on the top without hurting them. 50 kg. These earthworms will start penetrating to the bottom. twice in the second week and only once in the third and following weeks. without causing any disruption to the top. of manure is produced. Once all these earthworms disappear.proliferates the number of earthworms . .both these take place simultaneously. understand that the manure is almost ready for use.
. This will induce the earthworms to penetrate deep and reach the bottom. Later the earthworms at the bottom may be separated from one another and deposited in the refilled tank.Spread a paper on the ground and empty the contents of the tank slowly in sunlight making a pyramid like heap. Let this heap remain in daylight for about half to one hour. Now the upper layers of organic manure can be lifted slowly.
It is an excellent source of microorganisms. . It is considered a gardener·s gold for being nutrient rich.COMPOST Compost is simply decomposed organic matters: plants and animals. It consists of decomposed and partially decomposed matter that·s dark and crumbly.
then the compost organisms particularly the microorganisms will do the rest. as long as we provide the right balance of ingredients in the compost pile. keep it aerated and moist. .Composting the process of converting organic materials into humus or into forms that plants can assimilate.
2. . is so absorbent that it can almost hold water twice its weight. it loses the organic matter and nitrogen essential to productivity. Beneficial soil organisms will fail to thrive due to lack of oxygen. soil tends to become alkaline. Also. Humus. Improves soil Aeration Without air. the end result of composting. Protects Plants from Drought Compost has the ability to hold more moisture.BENEFITS OF COMPOST 1.
Soil containing a lot of humus holds together better because water permeates the soil. Stops Erosion Compost can prevent erosion by improving soil structure. 4.3. . Slowly Releases Nutrients Compost acts as a kind of nutrients storehouse releasing nutrients gradually throughout the plant·s growing season.
Prevents Disease Compost has seemingly miraculous powers to prevent and control plant disease better than any chemical fungicide. Recycle Waste Composting is the only waste disposal conserving nutrients from the waste eventually returned to the soil. .5. 6.
Flood-free Accessible to water supply and source of compost material.THE PROCESS OF VERMICULTURE AND COMPOSTING REQUIREMENTS Site Selection Site selection will depend in the selection of worm bin. Well ventillated . It must be shaded (earthworms shy away from strong light).
Housing (or Worm Bin) Type Box type (wood or plastic container with canopy) Worm bin (cemented floor and wall w/o canopy) Worm bin (cemented floor and wall with canopy) Iron bars with plastic lining Old plastic basins Hollow block as non permanent structure with plastic lining Drum type with canopy .
Hog and cow dung that contain large amounts of de-worming chemicals. .Selection of Raw Materials Consider the source of material Market waste: Be careful as some market produce such as fruits and vegetables have large quantities of pesticides. Identify materials rich in nitrogen Kakawate Ipilipil Monggo ¶Baging Ilog· Wild Sunflower Katuray Leaves Agola Peanut All animal manure except dog and cat.
old cow carabao manure. .Identify materials rich in carbon Grass Rice straw Corn stalks Wood Saw dust Coco dust Paper Size and kind of materials Smaller material sizes are more favorable. Materials readily available in forms (decomposed kitchen waste. Easily composted materials. Shredded materials decompose more easily. paper shreds and other biodegradable materials.
DECOMPOSITION PROCESS Anaerobic Stage After mixing and watering the compost substrate. The substrate can be stocked to a height of 60 cm. The substrate is placed in containers or heaped in bead. which may be lined at the bottom or the sides with plastic sheets or other forms of retaining device such as screens and blocks. . the first process phase is of called the the vermicomposting ´anaerobic stageµ is started.
.The compost pile is covered with a plastic sheet to speed up the decomposition This initiated by the anaerobic bacteria. The temperature of the substrate can reach 5070 oC. stage may last for one to two weeks. the faster the decomposition. The hotter the temperature.
feed on the substrate. they now produce castings which are deposited on the surface. .Aerobic Stage When the temperature of the compost pile goes down to ambient condition. Live earthworm can now be stocked into the pile. The earthworms. And with the aid of microorganisms in their gizzards. The next phase of the vermicomposting process is known as the ´aerobic stageµ. The vermicomposting units should be watered when necessary to maintain the optimum moisture content and sheltered from heavy rains to minimize leaking of plant nutrients. the plastic cover of the vermicomposting unit is removed.
for every 25 to 30 parts of carbon. Ratio of carbon to nitrogen is a chemical ratio and is not based on volume you do not need 30 times more brown material than green.Balancing Act Vermi and microbes thrive best when their food source provides carbon to nitrogen ratio (expressed as C:N) between 25:1 to 30:1 meaning. . 1 part nitrogen must be added to the pile.
Recommended Mixture 75% cow manure and 25% sawdust or rice hull is good for breeding. 75% shredded fresh grass and 25% kakawate. . growing and fattening. ipil-ipil is good for the growth and reproduction of the worms and obtaining vermicompost of good quality.
Sandwich: stock with 2-inch layer alternating substrate.25m) 300 worms.No.2m x 2m x 1.000 worms / 250 kg 3. 2 months of casting 4. 5 months of casting 2. of Worms per Bin Size (1.000 worms. .000 worms / 250 kg Stock Filling of Substrate Mixed normally used for shredded materials.
MAINTENANCE OF WORM BIN Test Humidity: by squeezing a fistful of substrate. while ants do not eat worms. frogs. chickens. they can kill your population if left unattended. snakes. . five to seven drops of water indicates about 80% humidity or same humidity in a squeezed sponge. mice. flatworms and even pigs love to eat worms. Protect worms from natural predators: Birds.
2.Do not put unwanted materials to your pile: 1. oils and grease . Meat scraps .these can attract unwanted animal visitors and create unpleasant odors. 3. Droppings from caged birds Birds droppings may contain dangerous disease pathogens. . Fats.large amounts of these will give your microbes indigestion slowing down composting process. It also attracts unwanted pests.
4. Droppings from dogs. burn diseased plants. Human waste: the potential for spreading diseases. Hot composting kills most pathogens but some may survive even prolonged heat. Cat droppings in particular can be dangerous to pregnant women and children. 6. hot composting kills most plant pathogens but to avoid risk. Highly acidic materials. cats and other carnivores . 7. . 5.These contain disease harmful to humans. Diseased plants: Yes.
In the shade. you can harvest the top part easily because the worm has gone to the bottom of the pile. you can extract the worms manually.Harvesting Pick the worm by hand and transfer them to a new worm bed. pile the vermi-compost in such a manner that it looks like a pyramid. After a day. When you reach the bottom pile. The vermicompost may be allowed to dry in the shade for few days and sifted if finer compost is desired. .
Allow the worms to move freely to the new food. Fill the empty half with new substrate.Move the contents of the whole bed to one side. After a week or so. the bag will be filled with worms. Use mechanical screen. Fill an onion bag with fresh food and bury in the bed. Harvest the casting left by the worms. which you can empty to a new worm bed. .
Exposing organic fertilizer to the sun will cause it to lose its nitrogen content. Drying and Storage Dry your vermicompost by air under shades only. Store in cool place away from direct sunlight. . Vermicompost can be stored at 30% humidity in plastic bag. A 3/16µ mesh wire is recommended to separate pure vermi-compost from substrate.Vermi Compost Screener Vermi-compost can be used after harvest.
Or 6 mos. wt of breeder earthworm Ave. 5.EXPECTED EARTHWORM PRODUCTION 1. = 30000 babies ´the initial 5000 babies will then breeders at the end of 6 mos. 4. 1. number (per kg) Earthworm mating schedule No. of eggs per capsule Expected mating/product/month Initial: 1000 breeders x 5 eggs/capsule x 50% hatching x 50% survival x 4 wks. 3. X 6 mos. 2.0-1. Ave. x 24 wks.5 gms 1000 worms Once a week 3-5 eggs/capsule 5000 eggs 2500 babies 1250 babies/wk 5000 babies/month 30000 babies & 5000 breeders . Computation: 5000/mo. or 1 mo.
000.00 .00/kg Php 18. Current Price: 8. = 1000 + 30000 + 5000 = 36000 36000 worms 7. for 36000 worms: 36 kg EI = 36 kg x Php 500/kg = Php 18000.00 Php 500. Total Production (TP) Computation: TP = Initial worms * babies in 6 mos + breeders in 6 mos.6. Expected Income (EI): Computation: Estimated wt.
Diagram of a household-scale worm composting bin .
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and massing capacity. This worm. humidity). tolerance to ambient factors (pH. original form Eurasia is "Eisenia Foetida". they are just like the rest of nature. creating a big confusion because this worms are not hybrids. . this breed (Eisenia Foetida) is preferred by the majority of worm's breeders in the world because of the rusticity. temperature. a result of natural selection. In some non scientific books was called "Red hybrid". reproductive potential.HISTORY OF VERMICULTURE Californian red worms have been utilized from the 50's in California (USA). At this time.