Vermicomposting is derived from the Latin word “Vermi”, meaning worms. It is the process of converting organic waste into nutrient-rich compost using earthworms. This process of composting has a huge advantage over traditional composting methods as it results in waste volume reduction, humus-rich soil and takes shorter processing time.
Though vermicomposting can be done on a large scale, the most common method of household/small-scale composting is Bin composting. Any recycled containers, plastic, or woods can be used to construct the bin.
The first layer of the bin is known as Bedding. As the worms thrive in the bedding, the vermi bed should be able to replicate their natural environment. It can be made with a mixture of sawdust, shredded cardboard, moss, newspaper, and straw.
Secondly, 3 inches of moist sand is spread over the bedding, which is followed by another 3 inches of garden soil. Thirdly, the layer of biowaste is added on the top. The waste is either pre-digested or cut into suitable sizes so that the worms are able to consume it.
The waste is covered by a thin layer of slurry cow dung. Finally, the little vermi soldiers are placed on the surface without spreading them. The bin is covered with a thatch roof to prevent the worms from foreign pests and animals.
The vermicompost is usually ready within the duration of a couple of months. During this period, water should be frequently sprinkled on the bin with advisable moisture of 65–75% and a temperature of around 20 degree celsius. Furthermore, slight basic pH is recommended for the survival and reproduction of the earthworms.
Who are suited?
Although there are above 3320 species of earthworms, only 6-8 species are suitable for vermicomposting. This mainly includes red earthworms (such as Eisenia foetida and Eisenia andrei ) which can efficiently breakdown the organic waste and have wider tolerance to the environmental gradient.
According to Ecomena, Earthworms reduce the volume of organic waste by 40-60 percent. These worms not only act as natural grinders but also host an array of beneficial aerobic bacteria. Moreover, the end product is soil-enriching nutrients such as nitrates, phosphates, calcium, and soluble potassium ready to make your plants blossom with flowers and fruits.
A correctly done vermicomposting doesn’t produce any foul smell. Instead, you can smell moist soil from the bin. You can use the compost in your kitchen garden or rooftop garden and see your organic leafy vegetables grow. So do yourself a favour and let’s support organic manuring. Let’s go vermicomposting!!