Vermicomposting and Earthworms

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Eudrilus Eugeniae  or African Nightcrawler (Vermicomposting)
Eudrilus Eugeniae or African Nightcrawler

Hello again guys. Now this is one of my favorite subject. Composting with Earthworms (Vermicomposting). I love these animals. I know some of you guys find earthworms offensive and nasty but that’s because you haven’t actually seen them closely yet. If you have seen them closely and watched how they transform waste material into Black Gold and even after that you find them offensive, then I have one question for you. What’s wrong with you?

Vermicomposting vs. Composting

There is absolutely no doubt that regular composting or hot composting is the easiest, cheapest, most efficient method of creating Biomass for plants. But there are some drawbacks which prevent it from becoming a practical solution in small scale, home based garden. The primary requirement for hot composting method is the volume of raw material required. To achieve the core temperature required for hot composting, you will need at least one cubic meter of raw material and that too at one time. Now gathering that much of organic material at a home scale, is absolutely impossible. It makes perfect sense if you own a farmhouse, or restaurant which produce copious amount of Biomass. The second drawback is again the volume. Even if you have 1 square meter of space available in your backyard, keep this in mind that it will be a heap of naked rotting material in your backyard. That limits the possibility of usable space around the compost pile. So in home scale situation vermicomposting makes perfect sense. Commercial vermicomposting bins available are normally compact and somewhat easy on eyes also. You are supposed to add small quantities of organic waste material in days interval. So when only organic waste material you produce is coming out of your kitchen, vermicomposting seems to be the only way to go.

Is it really necessary?

Now before we venture into composting with earthworms or vermicomposting in short, let’s explore, do we really need to do it? Why the hell I should worry about it? I can buy clean, easy to use BIO fertilizer at any agricultural store. I could even buy them online and delivered to my doorstep. Why should I get into all that mess of rotting vegetables, earthworms…yikes!!! Well by the time you will finish this post, it won’t make sense not to do it. Let’s do some math. Vegetables are very important part of our Indian diet. On an average a family of 4 will produce around 400 to 500 grams of food waste a day. And by food waste I mean vegetable skins, used tea or coffee bags, stale bread etc. That amounts to about 180 Kg of food waste per year. A daily newspaper weights from 100 to 300 grams. That equals close to 75 Kg per year. If you add up other bio degradable waste like brown cardboard, lawn grass clippings, leaf cuttings from your garden we are looking at 300 Kg of biomass at least.  Now it needs around 5.5 Kg of Biomass to produce 1 Kg of vermicompost. That amounts to 54 Kg of vermicompost a year. Now what you think about composting. Does it make sense not to do it? Now the figure I gave you is the bare minimum. In real life I have a family of 4 adults and 2 kids and I get around 25 Kg of Compost every 3 months. And let me tell you if you have that much of compost, forget about buying fertilizers right now. You don’t need it. If you are still not sure, just remember the fact that you were going to throw away those stuffs for your municipality to gather them and pollute some river or village.

More Information on Vermicomposting

If you seek more information on the topic, Following links should provide some interesting reading material.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vermicompost

http://agritech.tnau.ac.in/org_farm/orgfarm_vermicompost.html

http://home.howstuffworks.com/vermicomposting.htm

I hope, I was able to convince some of you to think about composting seriously. In my next posts, I will explain in detail the process of composting with  earthworms  and interesting ways of using it. Till then take care and

Happy Gardening…


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Debasish

Debasish

Well to begin with, I am no expert in gardening. Nor do I have a huge and amazing garden that TV channels are rushing in to get some footage. I'm just an average gardener with nothing but roof and patio space to grow. One thing special about me is the mistakes I made. Trust me I made them all. So at least I can tell you on good authority "What NOT to do...". Cheers :-)

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