• A method of preparing enriched compost with the use of earthworms.
• It is one of the easiest methods to recycle agricultural wastes and to
produce quality compost.
• Earthworms consume biomass and excrete it in digested form called
worm casts. Worm casts are popularly called as Black gold.
• The casts are rich in nutrients, growth promoting substances,
beneficial soil micro flora and having properties of inhibiting
4. Types of Vermicomposting
• Bed method :
• Composting is done on the pucca / kacha floor by making bed (6x2x2
feet size) of organic mixture. This method is easy to maintain and to
• Pit method:
• Composting is done in the cemented pits of size 5x5x3 feet. The unit is
covered with thatch grass or any other locally available materials. This
method is not preferred due to poor aeration, water logging at bottom,
and more cost of production
5. Nutrient Content of Vermicompost
• The level of nutrients in compost depends upon the source of the raw
material and the species of earthworm.
• A fine worm cast is rich in N P K besides other nutrients. Nutrients in
vermicompost are in readily available form and are released within a
month of application.
7. Introduction to Earthworms
• Earthworms belong to phyllum Annelida of Animal Kingdom. They are long and
cylindrical in shape and size having a large number of grooves. There are about
3000 species of earthworms in the world which are adapted to a range of
environment. More than 300 species have been identified in India.
• Earthworms are also known as "friends of the farmer" as they decompose organic
waste material present in the soil, and make the soil fertile for agricultural use. In
other words, organic waste generated by different life forms is recycled by
earthworms to form humus, thereby improving the quality of soil used for
8. Types of Earthworms
• In the process of vermiculture, there are three types (ecotypes) of
earthworms cultivated, depending on the feeding and burrowing habits –
• A. Epigeic - Epi = Top, Geic = Earth.
• These earthworms live on the upper part of the soil. These are not
burrowing earthworms, but survive by feeding on soil litter. These
earthworms are smallin size. They are not striped, and are red to red-brown
in colour. Eisenia foetida
9. Types of Earthworms
• These earthworms feed on soil litter by
making permanent vertical burrows deep
into the soil.
• Therefore, these earthworms live on the
upper part of the soil, as well as in deep
• Castings of these earthworms are often
seen in grasslands. These earthworms are
large in size, and dorsally pigmented. The
head part is red or brown in colour, and
the tail has a pale appearance as compared
to the head part.
• - Endo = Inner, Geic = Earth.
• These earthworms are completely
burrowing. They create horizontal
burrows, and feed on material present
deep within the soil surface.
• These earthwormsare rich soil feeders,
and are small in size. These earthworms
are not pigmented, but have a pale
appearance. In vermiculture, the main
species of earthworms cultivated are as
10. • Both . Epigeic and Anecic groups of earthworms are slender, shorter in
length and red to dark brown in colour. They have high reproduction
activity and efficient in recycling of organic materials.
• Increased attention has been paid to Eisenia foetida and Eudrilus eugeniae
which have been found to be potential agent in vermicomposting of wide
range of agricultural wastes and can grow at a wide range of temperature
varying from 0-40 ◦C. However, the optimum temperature ranges from 20-
11. • pH: Range between 6.5 and 7.5
• Moisture: 60-70% of the moisture below and above range mortality of
worms taking place
• Aeration: 50% aeration from the total pore space
• Temperature: Range between 18 0C to 35 0C
Favorable Conditions for earthworms in composting
12. Advantages of Vermicomposting
• It provides efficient conversion of organic wastes/crop/animal
• It is a stable and enriched soil conditioner.
• It helps in reducing population of pathogenic microbes.
• It helps in reducing the toxicity of heavy metals.
• It is economically viable and environmentally safe nutrient supplement
for organic food production.
• It is an easily adoptable low cost technology.