Methods of composting

The available residues in the farm are collected and stored till they form sufficient mass for compost making. A trench of suitable size, say, 4-6 m long, 2-3 m broad and 1-1.5 m deep is dug, the accumulated residues is well mixed, and spread in a layer of 30 cm in thickness, along the length of the trench. This layer is well moistened by sprinkling cowdung slurry and water over it. A second layer of identical thickness of the mixed residues is then spread over the first layer. The process is repeated till the heap rises to a height of 45 cm to 60 cm above ground level. The top is then covered with a thin layer of soil. After three months of decomposition, the mass is taken out of the trench and formed into a conical heap above the ground, moistened with water if necessary, and covered with soil. After one or two months, the manure will be ready for application in the field.

Preparation of Vermiwash

Method 1

The system consists of a plastic basin having a capacity of 20 litres, a plastic perforated wastepaper basket and a PVC pipe of 5 cm diameter and 30 cm length. The waste paper basket is covered with a nylon net and placed at the centre of the basin upside down. A hole is made at the bottom of the waste paper basket so that a PVC pipe of 5 cm diameter can be placed into the basin through the hole in such a way that one end of it touches the basin. The PVC pipe is perforated so that the leachate from the basin seeps through the wastepaper basket and collects in the PVC pipe, which can be siphoned out by a kerosene pump. The basin outside the wastepaper basket, is lined with a layer of brick pieces at the bottom and a 2-3 cm thick layer of coconut fibre of 2-3 cm placed above it. After moistening this, 2 kg worms (about 2000) are introduced into it and 4 kg kitchen waste is spread over it. After one week, the kitchen waste turns into a black well decomposed compost. Two litres of water is sprinkled over the compost containing worms. After 24 hours, the leachate collected in the PVC pipe is removed by siphoning. The collected leachate is called vermiwash, which is actually an extract of compost containing worms. This is used for soil application and foliar spray in different crops. Vermiwash is honey-brown in colour with a pH of 8.5 and N, P2O5 and K2O content 200, 70 and 1000 ppm respectively. For large scale collection of vermiwash, a cement tank of size 80 cm x 80 cm x 80 cm with a side tap is constructed. A layer of small brick pieces or gravel is placed at the bottom of the tank. Above it a layer of fibre of 3-4 cm thickness in placed. A definite quantity of biowaste (4 kg) is added to the system along with 2 kg of earthworms. After two weeks, the entire mass of biowaste will turn to brownish black compost. It is sprinkled with 2 litres of water. Vermiwash is collected through the side tap after 24 hours. Biowaste can again be added to the system and the process repeated.

Method 2

This is a simple and economical technique to collect vermiwash. The system consists of an earthen pot of 10 kg capacity with a hole at the bottom, which is filled with pieces of stone up to a height of 10 cm from the bottom. A plastic net is spread over this. Then a thick layer of coir fibre along with humus containing 1500-2000 worms of Eudrillus euginae or Isenia foetidae is added to the pot. The hole situated at the bottom of the pot is fixed with a water tap through which vermiwash is collected. The kitchen waste of each day is added to the container. The composting process is allowed to continue for a week or more till brownish black mass of compost is obtained. Occasionally, two or three tablespoons of fresh cowdung slurry is poured on the humus as feed for the worms. After the formation of compost, the entire mass is soaked with two litres of water. After 24 hours, about 1.5 litre of vermiwash can be collected. This process can be continued for one or two weeks till the brown colour of wash disappears. The less enriched compost that remains in the pot can be collected and used as fertilizer. Later, the pot can be emptied and set up again to continue the process. 

The vermi wash, either alone or in combination with botanical pesticides can be used for pest management in kitchen gardens. 

Recommendation for crops

When vermicompost is applied as organic manure instead of FYM, the quantity of in-organic fertilizers can be reduced to about half the recommended dose.

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