Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Chemistry
Department of Agronomy 
Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Raipur (C.G)

Vermicomposting is the process of turning organic debris into worm castings. The worm castings are very important to the fertility of the soil.
    The castings contain high amounts of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium. Castings contain: 5 times the available nitrogen, 7 times the available potash, and 1 ½ times more calcium than found in good topsoil. Several researchers have demonstrated that earthworm castings have excellent aeration, porosity, structure, drainage, and moisture-holding capacity.
    Vermicomposting is done on small and large scales. In the 1996 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, the Australians used worms to take care of their tons and tons of waste.They then found that waste produced by the worms was could be very beneficial to their plants and soil. People in the U.S. have commercial vermicomposting facilities, where they raise worms and sell the castings that the worms produce. Then there are just people who own farms or even small gardens, and they may put earthworms into their compost heap, and then use that for fertilizer.

Earthworms – Heroes of Organic Farming
Study of earthworms was pioneered by Charles Darwin. Barrett was the first person to grow earthworms on a commercial scale.
    Totally there are 386 different varieties of earthworms that have been identified that are broadly classified into 3 categories, viz. epigeic, endogeic and diageic. This classification is based on their feeding habits, habitat in soil strata, response to the soil conditions and defecation activities.
    There are more than 2500 earthworm species in the world. For commercial vermicompost project there are specific earthworm species available like Eisenia foetida, Perionyx excavatus, Eudrilus eugeniae, etc. Eisenia foetida, also called Red earthworm has a high rate of multiplication. It converts the organic materials from the top, that is, it is a surface feeder. Conversion of organic matter into compost is done within 45-50 days.

Vermicompost and its utilization
Vermicompost is nothing but the excreta of earthworms, which is rich in humus and nutrients. We can rear earthworms artificially in a brick tank or near the stem/trunk of trees (specially horticultural trees). By feeding these earthworms with biomass and watching properly the food (bio-mass) of earthworms, we can produce the required quantities of vermicompost.

Materials for preparation of Vermicompost

Any types of biodegradable wastes-
  1. Crop residues
  2. Weed biomass
  3. Vegetable waste
  4. Leaf litter
  5. Hotel refuse
  6. Waste from agro-industries
  7. Biodegradable portion of urban and rural wastes
Phase of vermicomposting

Phase 1: Processing involving collection of wastes, shredding, mechanical separation of the metal, glass and ceramics and storage of organic wastes.

Phase 2: Pre digestion of organic waste for twenty days by heaping the material along with cattle dung slurry. This process partially digests the material and fit for earthworm consumption. Cattle dung and biogas slurry may be used after drying. Wet dung should not be used for vermicompost production.

Phase 3: Preparation of earthworm bed. A concrete base is required to put the waste for vermicompost preparation. Loose soil will allow the worms to go into soil and also while watering, all the dissolvable nutrients go into the soil along with water.

Phase 4: Collection of earthworm after vermicompost collection. Sieving the composted material to separate fully composted material. The partially composted material will be again put into vermicompost bed.

Phase 5: Storing the vermicompost in proper place to maintain moisture and allow the beneficial microorganisms to grow.

What Worms Need
The Five Essentials
Compost worms need five basic things:
  1. An hospitable living environment, usually called “bedding”
  2. A food source
  3. Adequate moisture (greater than 50% water content by weight)
  4. Adequate aeration
  5. Protection from temperature extremes
Vermicompost Production Methodology

i) Selection of suitable earthworm
ii) Selection of site for vermicompost production
iii) Containers for vermicompost production: A cement tub may be constructed to a height of 2½ feet and a breadth of 3 feet. The length may be fixed to any level depending upon the size of the room. The bottom of the tub is made to slope like structure to drain the excess water from vermicompost unit. A small sump is necessary to collect the drain water.
iv) Vermiculture bed: Vermiculture bed or worm bed (3 cm) can be prepared by placing after saw dust or husk or coir waste or sugarcane trash in the bottom of tub/container. A layer of fine sand (3 cm) should be spread over the culture bed followed by a layer of garden soil (3 cm). All layers must be moistened with water.

Nutritive value of vermicompost 
The nutrients content in vermicompost vary depending on the waste materials that is being used for compost preparation. If the waste materials are homogenous one, there will be only certain nutrients are available. The common available nutrients in vermicompost is as follows-

Organic carbon: 9.5 – 17.98%

Nitrogen: 0.5 – 1.50%

Phosphorous: 0.1 – 0.30%

Potassium: 0.15 – 0.56%

Sodium: 0.06 – 0.30%

Calcium and Magnesium: 22.67 to 47.60 meq/100g

Copper: 2 – 9.50 mg kg-1

Iron: 2 – 9.30 mg kg-1

Zinc: 5.70 – 11.50 mg kg-1

Sulphur: 128 – 548 mg kg-1

Godhan Nyay Yojana’ is the scheme recently launched on 21st July 2020, on the occasion of Hareli, the first festival of the state, by the Chhattisgarh government led by Bhupesh Baghel.

  • Sikkim became the first State in the world to become fully organic in 2016.
  • North East India has traditionally been organic and the consumption of chemicals is far less than the rest of the country.
  • The major organic exports from India have been flax seeds, sesame, soybean, tea, medicinal plants, rice and pulses.
  • Sikkim has become India’s first fully organic state by converting around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land into sustainable cultivation.
  • The Ministry of Agriculture has declared Lakshadweep as India’s first Union Territory to become 100 per cent organic.
  • This comes after the UT received proper certifications and declarations under the Centre’s Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (organic farming improvement programme).