Vermicompost fertilizer is the fertilizer made from organic waste through the actions of some cultivated vermicompost earthworms, usually red wigglers and white worms. Vermicompost organic fertilizer production is done through a process known as vermicomposting whereby the vermicompost earthworm is domesticated and fed with wastes to make rich organic fertilizer. Using vermicompost as fertilizer is a rich source of nutrients for plants, the action of the worms leads to the production of humus, which is usually very rich in plant primary nutrients, especially Nitrogen. You can use vermicompost for plants of any growth habit or duration; it is a slow nutrient-releasing organic fertilizer that can persistently supply the crop nutrients for a long time. Lastly, vermicompost fertilizer can either be solid or liquid; vermicompost liquid fertilizer is usually gotten by collecting excess water draining from the vermicompost bin.
In the article, you would watch how to make vermicompost fertilizer, problems associated with making vermicompost fertilizer, equipment needed for making vermicompost and other related information about vermicomposting you need to know. There are vermicompost processes pictures and a vermicomposting video free download to enhance your readability and practice. Try out the procedures to make cheap organic fertilizers for your garden.
Insights Of Using Vermicompost As Fertilizer For Plants
Vermicompost fertilizer is a cheap and very rich organic fertilizer as it supplies crude nutrients for crop use and serves as a soil conditioner. Some farming practices are often detrimental to consumer’s health. The use of synthetic fertilizers often leads to the oxidation of crops and reduces the palatability of such crops as the sumptuous taste of such crops is found wanting.
Inorganic fertilizers are detrimental to both the soil and the environment, thus, contributing to global warming and deterioration of the soil nature. These are great threats to the ecosystem. The use of vermicompost as fertilizer or other organic fertilizers must be encouraged to achieve an eco-friendly means of food production.
Vermicompost Organic Fertilizer Production: Equipment And Processes
Vermicompost fertilizer is a natural fertilizer gotten from the metabolic activities of worm and waste. Vermicompost can be made from any waste material, kitchen waste, animal wastes or plant remains. Before delving into to processes of making vermicompost fertilizer, the equipment used for vermicomposting must be enlisted.
The following pieces of equipment are required for the production of vermicompost for plants:
- Farm coat or apron
- Hand fork
- Vermicomposting Bin
- Vermicompost earthworms
The gloves and farm coat are personal protective equipment (PPE). Proper hygiene has to be maintained in all farming activities; the use of PPE protects you from direct contact with microscopic pathogens.
#2. Hand fork
The hand fork is used to open up a hole in the corner of the compost bin to feed the worms daily and to pulverize the compost during harvesting.
#3. Vermicomposting Bin
The vermicomposting bin is the worm house and where the composting is done. A controlled environment facilitates the growth and activities of the vermicomposting worms. In vermicomposting, the worms are the animals catered for, they are domesticated and managed to be productive just like how bees are kept in the hive. The waste of the worms is what farmers need to fertilize the soil. The vermicompost bin can be made of wood or plastic; however, wood is preferred as it is more absorbent and gives a better insulating effect.
The vermicomposting bin must be designed such that it allows the exchange of material, such as air and excess water with the environment. To facilitate this, drill some holes in the bottom of the compost bin for aeration and drainage; excess water draining from the container may be collected and used as vermicompost liquid fertilizer, it is also very effective. The vermicompost bin should be covered always to conserve moisture and provide darkness for the vermicomposting worms to enhance their activities in the bin. Like other animals, worms need adequate ventilation.
Beddings are important components in vermicomposting; bedding facilitates dampness in the vermicomposting bin and allows burying of food for the worms. The bedding material must be damp, edible, absorbent and fluffy in nature; common bedding materials used are sawdust, shredded newspaper or cardboard, groundnut husk, rice hull, etc.; sand can also be added for the worms’ gizzard and lime to regulate the pH of the system.
#5. Vermicompost earthworms
Vermicomposting earthworms play an important role in vermicomposting, but not all worms. There two types of vermicompost earthworms used in this process: Eisenia foetida also known as red wiggler or manure worm and Lumbricus rubellus. They are both found in aged animal manure or compost. These worms are kept and fed inside the vermicompost bin; they are fed with waste food materials such as fruits, vegetables, tea bags, etc.; sternly avoid feeding worms with oily foods, dairy products, and meat. They result in offensive odor, attract flies, and rodents.
Steps Involved In The Making Of Vermicompost Fertilizer
Firstly, you need to get your vermicomposting bin, design it as described above to enhance worm cultivation conditions. Get your bedding materials inside the vermicompost bin; you can use more than one bedding material for better interaction in the system. You can watch or download the vermicompost video for better understanding.
#1. Preparation of the vermicompost bin
Fill the bin with the bedding material, do not compact; allow air spaces as it facilitates aeration and allows the free movement of worms in the system. Mix dry leaves with the bedding material and a handful of soil to act as a primer. Add water to this mixture to make it damp.
#2. Introduction of the vermicompost earthworms
Place the vermicomposting earthworms on the top of the mixture and watch them crawl to the bottom; the amount of worms needed depends on the amount of feed to be fed. If you are serving one pound of food daily, you will need two pounds of worms.
#3. Feeding the vermicompost earthworms
Feeding is done by burying the feed in one corner of the compost bin after digging the corner with the hand fork. The feed is then covered with the beddings. Feed the vermicompost earthworms in different corners every week until about 4 months when the vermicompost is ready for harvesting. Ensure the vermicompost bin is covered always.
#4. Harvesting vermicompost fertilizer
The vermicompost fertilizer is ready after 3-4 months. All the components in the compost bin are harvested except the worms. The worms are separated from the compost either by handing picking or by heaping composts under the sun and watch the worms crawl to the center. Separate the worms from the compost and place them in fresh bedding for another batch of vermicompost. The harvested compost is then applied to the soil as mulch or dug into the soil.
Problems In Making Vermicompost Fertilizer And Possible Solutions
#1. Pungent or offensive odor in a vermicompost bin
This is usually caused by a lack of oxygen or overfeeding or waterlogged vermicompost. To correct this, check the drainage holes made at the bottom of the bin to ensure they are not blocked, drilling more holes is more preferable; you can also stir the entire content of the compost bin to allow free flow of air. In addition, stop feeding the worms until the feeds in the compost bin are used up.
#2. Worms crawling out of the vermicompost bedding
When you observe the worms are crawling out of the bedding to the sides of the compost bin or the lid, it means the bedding is too acidic; this is caused as a result of the uncontrolled addition of citrus and other acidic foods. To control this, add lime to the bin.
#3. The emergence of flies
This occurs when you have overfed the worms or when you did not bury the feeds. Always bury the feeds under the bedding and ensure you serve adequate feed. Also, ensure the compost bin is covered always.
Vermicomposting is an environmental-friendly practice as it can be done both indoor and outdoor. The dark brown earthy material produced, Vermicompost fertilizer, is a balanced source of primary plant nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) and micronutrients.
It is also called worm cast; it is odorless and does not burn plant parts like the roots when applied as seen in animal manures due to their high urea content. In addition, vermicompost fertilizer or wormcast does not harbor plant pests or diseases; it is the most ideal organic fertilizer for both rural and urban farming. Ensure the vermicomposting earthworms are kept under favorable conditions and watch them produce rich manure for your crops.
- How To Calculate Fertilizer Application Rate For Any Crop
- How To Make Liquid Organic Fertilizer For Plants
- Types Of Biofertilizers Used In Agriculture (Organic Farming)
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