Categories: Articles, Crop productionPublished On: 8th July 2024

Improve your soil with vermicomposting

By 3 min read

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Compost is no new concept. By now, everyone knows the basic how and why of using organic material.

Vermicompost is another story. This is basically where you use earthworms to enhance the process of converting organic waste to compost. These worms help enrich the soil, increase crop yields, and prevent plant diseases. In essence, worms help produce better soil.

Why vermicompost?

There are many benefits to employing our wiggly friends in our soil health. Some of them include:

1. Nutrient-rich: Vermicompost is packed with essential plant nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and micronutrients. These nutrients are easily accessible for plants to absorb.

2. Microbial boost: It also contains helpful micro-organisms that can make phosphorus and other minerals easier to dissolve, making them available for plant roots.

3. Organic carbon: Vermicompost has a high organic carbon content, which plants love. It is even better than regular compost in this regard.

4. Water retention: This compost can hold a lot of water, making it great for retaining moisture in the soil.

5. Soil health: It improves soil structure, encourages beneficial microbes, and works well when mixed with sandy soil.

Make sure your compost is in good condition by keeping it moist and turning it regularly.

A step-by-step guide to healthy, rich soil

Vermicompost sounds like a good idea, but how? Here is a guide to starting your vermicompost:

Choose a suitable site:

Find a location that meets the following criteria:

  • Protection from extreme weather or direct sunlight
  • Availability of dung or manure
  • Easy water access
  • A favourable environment for earthworms (dark with moderate temperatures)

Collect and prepare manure:

Gather dry manure in heaps at your chosen spot. Screen the manure to remove unwanted materials like weed seeds, stones, and thorns. Chop or grind the material into small pieces (less than 10 mm) for easier handling.

Prepare the bedding:

Create a vermicomposting bed, using bricks and mortar beds with drainage holes. Next you can layer the bedding materials:

  • First layer: Wood chips, dry leaves, or grass.
  • Second layer: Neem leaves (about 20 mm thick).
  • Third layer: Manure (up to 0,3 m high).

Moisten the layers:

Sprinkle water after each layer to moisten the materials. If the materials are too dry, soak them in 100 to 200 litres of water. Prevent rotting by adding ingredients to the middle of the heap during the process.

Introduce earthworms:

Place earthworms between 5 and 10 cm below the surface of the bed. Cover the bed with materials like gunny bags, grass straws, or broad leaves (avoid plastic).

Maintenance:

Water the vermicomposting bed two to three times a week. Turn the bed once or twice a month for better aeration. This step is crucial for maturing the vermicompost.

Harvesting:

After three to five months, the vermicompost is ready. Stop watering to allow the top part to dry. Screen the compost to remove undecomposed materials and worms. Dry the final product, weigh it, and bag it.

And just like that your compost is ready to use. Happy planting!

These slimy buggers are the secret to better soil.

Source:

Farm4Trade, How to prepare vermicompost in 10 steps. Jan 3, 2020. https://www.farm4tradesuite.com/blog/how-to-prepare-vermicompost-in-10-steps 

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