1. Prepared By:
*BSc.Agriculture, Institute of Agriculture and Animal
Science, Tribhuvan University.
**BSc.Agriculture, College of Natural Resource
Management Pakhribas, Agriculture and Forestry
The process of producing organic fertilizer (vermicompost)
using agricultural wastes through the digestive action of
A promising technique that has shown its potential in certain
challenging areas like augmentation of food production, waste
recycling and management of solid wastes etc.
—Vermiculture means scientific method of breeding and raising
earthworms in controlled conditions.
—Vermi-technology is the combination of vermiculture and
3. Vermicompost is also called,
Gold from garbage
Queen of compost
Advantages of vermicompost:
Improves soil texture and enhances water holding capacity
Supplies essential nutrient like Ca, Mg, Mn, Cu , Fe , Zn
along with NPK.
Promote plant health due to the presence of microbial
Decreases environmental pollution and expenditure of
resources to treat organic waste.
4. How to use vermicompost?
Sprinkle into a seed row when planting.
When transplanting, add a handful of vermi-compost to the
Use as a top-dressing or mulch around the base of plants.
Mix half with potting soil for your houseplants.
Application rate of vermicompost:
Field crops : 5 – 6 ton/ha
Vegetables : 10 – 12 ton/ha
Flower plants : 100 – 200 g/sq ft
Fruit trees : 5 – 10 kg/tree
5. Nutrient Content
Organic carbon 9.8-13.4
Total nitrogen 0.51-1.61
Total phosphorus 0.19-1.02
Total potassium 0.15-0.73
Sodium 0.058 - 0.158
Copper 0.0026 - 0.0048
Iron 0.2050 - 1.3313
Zinc 0.0042 - 0.110
Sujit Adhikary, 2012
7. 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.
Although earthworms are hermaphrodite in nature, two mature
earthworms are required to propagate.
At the time of egg laying, the clitellum is transformed into hard,
girdle like capsule called cocoon.
Shedding of cocoon ranges from 1 to 5, only a few of them
survive and hatch.
The juveniles and again formation of cocoons takes a period of
Normally, the average life span of earthworms varies with
species ranging from 1 to 10 years.
8. 1. Epigeics :
Example; Eisenia foetida (Red earthworm), Eudrilus
eugeniae (Night crawler)
2. Epianecic :
Feeds on leaf litter and soil at upper layers of soil
Example; Campito mauritii
Both epigeics and epianecics 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.
9. 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
They can grow at a wide range of temperature varying from
0-40 ◦C. However, the optimum temperature ranges from
11. —Materials consumed by worms undergo physical
breakdown in the gizzard resulting in particles <2 μ , giving
thereby an enhanced surface area for microbial processing.
This finally ground material is exposed to various enzymes
such as protease, lipase, amylase, cellulase and chitinase
secreted into lumen by the gutwall and associated microbes.
These enzymes breakdown complex biomolecules into
Only 5-10% of the ingested material is absorbed into the
tissues of worms for their growth and rest is excreted as
cast. Mucus secretions of gut wall add to the structural
stability of vermicompost.
12. 1. Pit
Wooden and plastic pit both work but should have holes drilled in the sides and
bottom for aeration and drainage.
Red earthworm is preferred because of its high multiplication rate.
It converts the organic matter into vermicompost within 45-50 days.
The following materials make ideal bedding:
Shredded fall leaves
Dried grass clippings
Add a couple of handfuls of sand or soil to provide your worms with grit for
their digestive system
13. 4. Care and Maintenance of Beds
Water the bed regularly to maintain the moisture content of the pile (at
least 60 %).
Clean the surrounding area regularly and check the presence of natural
enemies of worms like chickens, rats, birds, lizards, toads, ants,
beetles, centipedes, etc.
Nets may be used to enclose the area.
Preventive measure include treating of the site with 4% neem based
insecticide before filling the heap.
5. Food waste
Finely chopped food will be broken down more quickly.
Do not add meat, fish, dairy products, or fats.
Citrus fruit peels take a long time to break down so add them
14. —pH : Range between 6.5 and 7.5
—Moisture : 60-70%
( Below and above this range, mortality of worms take
—Aeration : 50% aeration.
—Temperature : Range between 18 ◦C to 35 ◦ C.
15. Vermicomposting unit should be done in a cool, moist and
Cow dung and chopped dried leafy materials are mixed in
the proportion of 3: 1 and are kept for partial decomposition
for 15 – 20 days.
A layer of 15-20cm of chopped dried leaves/grasses should
be kept as bedding material at the bottom of the bed.
Beds of partially decomposed material of size 6x2x2 feet
should be made.
Each bed should contain 1.5-2.0sq of raw material.
Red earthworm (1500-2000) should be released on the upper
layer of bed.
16. Water should be sprinkled with cane immediately after
the release of worms.
Beds should be kept moist by sprinkling of water daily
and by covering with gunny bags/polythene.
Bed should be turned once after 30 days for
maintaining aeration and for proper decomposition.
Compost gets ready in 45-50 days.
The finished product is 3/4th of the raw materials used.
17. Stop watering before one week of harvest.
Sometimes the worms spread across the pit come in close and
penetrate each other in the form of ball in 2 or 3 locations.
Heap the compost by removing the balls and place them in a
However, under most instances, top layer has to be disturbed
Earthworms move downward and compost is separated.
After collection of compost from top layers, feed material is
again replenished and composting process is rescheduled.
The material is sieved in 2 mm sieve, the material passed
through the sieve is called as vermicompost which is stored in a
[Note: Vermicomposting is done under thatched roof to protect
worms against rain and sun].
19. Do not cover vermicompost beds/heaps with plastic sheets
because it may trap heat and gases.
Do not overload the vermicompost heap to avoid high
temperature that adversely affect their population.
Dry conditions kill the worms and waterlogging drive them
Watering should be done daily in summer and every third day
in rainy and winter season.
Addition of higher quantities of acid rich substances such as
tomatoes and citrus wastes should be avoided.
Make a drainage channel around the heap to avoid stagnation of
water particularly in high rainfall areas in rainy season.
Organic materials used for composting should be free from
non-degradable materials such as stones, glass pieces, plastics,
ceramic tubes/bulbs etc.
20. Live earthworms can be packed with moist feed substrate
in a container (card board/plastic) with provision of
Feed substrate quantity should be roughly 0.5-1.5
g/individual for 24 hours of transportation journey.
Culture should contain cocoon, juveniles and adults
because sometimes adults do not acclimatize to new
environment and may even die.
Under such circumstances cocoons are helpful for
population build up of earthworms.