Dr. P. K. Mani
Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya
The word ‘vermi’ is coined from Latin word which means
worm, so vermicompost is the compost mediated by the
How Lime+ charcoal go down to lower layer
from soil surface?
Materials were taken from surface to lower layers by Earthworms
Book “Formation of vegetable mould”
(= humified soil layer) with the activities of Earth Worm)
A.A.Yarilov (1930) endorsed it
“Charles Darwin-the founder of soil science”(Book)
Earthworms: (“r” and “K” selections) (M.B.Bouche,1977)
Epigeic: Small size, colour uniform, surface dweller,
best thrive in 4-30°C, 50-60 % moisture,
phytophagous, short life cycle, good
biodegradators but do not re-distribute nutrients.
(“r” selected spp. have high metabolic rate, small
body size, high reproduction rate)
Endogeic : Small to medium size, weak pigmentation,
geophagous, life cycle is intermediate, high
efficiency in energy utilsation from poor
Aneciques: bigger size, pigmentation in both end,
nocturnal, deep burrowing, phytogeophagous
(“k” selected spp. Have low metabolic rate, long
body size with long life span)
Earthworms suitable for Vermi-Composting:
High reproductive rate
High growth rate
High organic content in the dietary requirement
High metabolic activity
Low retention in body
Capacity to adjust under adverse condition
(converting waste into useful pdts through worms)
means scientific method of breeding and rearing
earthworms in controlled conditions. It aims at creating
improved conditions artificially so that earthworms multiply in
shortest possible time and space. (Mass pdn of EW.)
2.Vermi-Composting: Pdn. of compost mediated by EW
Eisenia foetida (Sav.) (F. Lumbricidae) (Germany)
Perionyx excavatus (E.Perr.) (F. Megascolecidae) (Aust./NZ)
Eudrilus eugeniae (Kinb.) (F. Eudrilidae) Equatorial West Africa
Worms are part of the animal kingdom
These are called
Eisenia foetida but you may know them as
A Worm Is Born!
Each cocoon can have 1-5 worms. If conditions are not right for
hatching, such as dryness, many cocoons can be dormant for years
and hatch when conditions are right.
Method of Vermicompost Making
Organic wastes are mixed with cow dung, live soil and farmyard manure
at the ratio of 6: 3: 0.5: 0.5 on dry weight basis.
A compost heap is constructed by using above mentioned materials
and allowed to decompose at least 15 days.
For commercial purpose or large scale productions, composting is done
in a trench. Generally, a trench is prepared under a shade
Stop watering 2-3 days before harvest
Keep it for 60-70 days without
Spread moist gunny bag Add Sufficient water so that
Earthworm @ 10/kg waste moisture becomes 50-60%
Partial decomposed waste pdt.
layer of sand
Method of Vermicompost Making
Few steps are followed for making compost.
1st step: Organic wastes are mixed with cow dung, live soil and farmyard manure
at the ratio of 6: 3: 0.5: 0.5 on dry weight basis. A compost heap is
constructed by using above mentioned materials and allowed to decompose
least 15 days.
2nd step: For commercial purpose or large scale productions, composting is done
in a trench. Generally, a trench having 10ft long, 3ft width and 1.5ft deep
with a shade is followed.
3rd step: Entire bottom of is trench is covered with stone chips(2″). A layer of sand is
spread over it to facilitate percolation of excess water. A permanent bed with
unchopped straw is constructed above which the partial decomposed materials
obtained from first step is to be laded.
4th step: Pre-decomposed material in the trench is watered sufficiently so that
moisture content may be maintained around 50-60%.
5th step: Adult earthworms @10/kg composting material are generally released in the
6th step: Entire surface has to be covered with moist gunny bag. The earthworms are
allowed to multiply and digest the materials in an undisturbed condition for at
least 60 days.
7th step: If black to brown granules are appeared just below the gunny bag then it is
considered that composting is completed. (appeared like CTC Tea)
8th step: Watering is withheld for 3-4 days before harvest.
9th step: The compost is harvested from the surface(7″) after removing the gunny bag.
10th step: Reload the trench with decomposed materials.
Pits below the ground
Pits made for vermicomposting are 1 m deep and 1.5 m wide. The length varies as
Heaping above the ground
The waste material is spread on a polythene sheet placed on the ground and then
covered with cattle dung.
Sunitha et al. (1997) compared the efficacy of pit and heap methods of preparing
vermicompost under field conditions and found that the heap method of preparing
vermicompost was better than the pit method.
(i) Earthworm population was high in the heap method, with a 21-fold increase in
Eudrilus eugenae as compared to 17-fold increase in the pit method.
(ii) Biomass production was also higher in the heap method (46-fold increase)
than in the pit method (31-fold).
(iii) production of vermicompost was also higher in the heap method (51 kg) than
in the pit method (40 kg).
Tanks above the ground
Tanks made up of different materials such as normal bricks, hollow bricks, shabaz
stones, asbestos sheets and locally available rocks were evaluated for VC prepn.
Tanks can be constructed with the dimensions suitable for operations. At
ICRISATconstructed tanks with dimensions of 1.5 m (5 feet) width, 4.5 m (15 feet)
length and 0.9 m (3 feet) height. The commercial biodigester contains a partition wall
with small holes to facilitate easy movement of earthworms from one tank to the other.
Vermicompost can also be prepared above the ground by using cement rings
(ICRISAT and APRLP 2003). The size of the cement ring should be 90 cm in
diameter and 30 cm in height. The details of preparing vermicompost by this
method have been described in a later section.
1000 earth worms may convert 5 kg waste material per day
1000 worms weighs about a kilogram
The commercial model for vermicomposting developed by ICRISAT
consists of 4 chambers enclosed by a wall (1.5 m width, 4.5 m length and
0.9 m height) (Fig. 2). The walls are made up of different materials such as
normal bricks, hollow bricks, shabaz stones, asbestos sheets and locally
available rocks. This model contains partition walls with small holes to
facilitate easy movement of earthworms from one chamber to another.
Providing an outlet at one corner of each chamber with a slight slope
facilitates collection of excess water, which is reused later or used as
earthworm leachate on crop. (The outline of the commercial model is given
The four components of a tank are filled with plant residues
one after another. The 1st chamber is filled layer by layer along
with cow dung and then earthworms are released. Then the 2nd
chamber is filled layer by layer. Once the contents in the 1st
chamber are processed the earthworms move to chamber 2,
which is already filled and ready for earthworms. This facilitates
harvesting of decomposed material from the 1st chamber and also
saves labor for harvesting and introducing earthworms. This
technology reduces labor cost and saves water as well as time.
Precautions during the process
• The African species of earthworms, Eisenia fetida and Eudrilus
eugenae are ideal for the preparation of vermicompost. Most Indian
species are not suitable for the purpose.
• Only plant-based materials such as grass, leaves or vegetable
peelings should be utilized in preparing vermicompost.
• Materials of animal origin such as eggshells, meat, bone, chicken
droppings, etc are not suitable for preparing vermicompost.
• Gliricidia loppings and tobacco leaves are not suitable for rearing
The earthworms should be protected against birds, termites, ants
Chilli dust + 100g turmeric powder + 100g salt + surf
in 20L water, for red ant control)
(Rat control, mix 50g dry fish +2g Zinc phosphide, kept in 5-6
place of the shade)
• Adequate moisture should be maintained during the process. Either
stagnant water or lack of moisture could kill the earthworms.
Characteristics of Good Vermicompost
Fully decomposed and matured org. manure with C: N = 15: 1
Contains essential plant nutrients
Rich in secondary minerals especially Ca
Rich in millions of beneficial bacteria, particularly N-fixer
Rich in humus (Humic acid)
Rich in vitamins and growth regulators (Gibberalic acid)
Enzymes : Protease ,Lipase ,Amylase , Cellulose
Nutrients In assimilable form and suitable for any type of soil
Non-toxic, environmental friendly and ecologically compatible
Benefits of Vermicompost
Increases growth, flowering and fruiting.(Gn, Cn, Auxin)
Develops soil structure for better root alteration.
Helps root elongation for better uptake.
Free from weed seeds and harmful pathogens.
Helps to fix atmospheric nitrogen (Aztb. Azosp)
Helps phosphate solubilization by bacteria.
Fresh vermicompost increases worm population and
ensures longer sustenance of soil fertility.
Improves water retention capacity, aeration status
Contributes to better marketable products by improving quality.
Releases nutrients slowly.
Nutrient profile of Vermicompost and farmyard manure
C: N ratio
Major nutrient (%)
pH (1: 5) water suspension
CEC (cmole (p+) kg-1
Organic Carbon (g kg-1)
Vermicompost can be used for all crops: agricultural, horticultural,
ornamental and vegetables at any stage of the crop
Microbes present in the Vermicompost Pit
No./ g wet compost
Dose of Vermicompost :
For Field crops: 2-5 t/ha
For flowers: Vermicompost is applied at 750–1000 kg ha-1.
For vegetables: 7.5 t/ha
Fruit Tree: 200-500g/ plant depending on tree and age of tree
Vermiwash is a watery extract of compost, the wash of
earthworms present in the medium. Earthworm body is
filled up with Celomic fluid. Celomic fluid is always
secreted from the body of earthworms and always keeps
the body of wet. We can collect Celomic fluid of
earthworms and this is called vermiwash.
Vermicompost is the product or process of composting
utilizing various species of worms, to create a
heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food
waste, bedding materials, and vermicast
Vermicast, similarly known as worm castings, worm
humus or worm manure, is the end-product of the
breakdown of organic matter by a species of earthworm.
Benefit the Soil &
Produce Healthier Plants
Tomato Seedlings with (on left) and without worm castings
resulted in a 50% higher germination
Worm Castings Benefit the Soil & Produce Healthier Plants
Use of vermicompost produced shoots that were 41%
longer than commercial potting medium & 48.5%
Benefit the Soil &
Produce Healthier Plants
Vermicompost Increased total # of flowers by 19% as well
as flower size
One teaspoon of good garden soil to which
compost has been added contains:
• 100 million bacteria
• 800 feet of fungal threads
Vermiculture industry or vermicompost preparation:
1. Basic raw material : Any organic material generated in the farm like
bhusa ,leaf fall
2. Starter : Cow dung ,Biogas slurry , or urine of cattle
3. Soil animal : Earth worms (Species: Eisenia foetida )
Favourable conditions of earth worms in the composting material:
A. pH : Range between 6.5 and 7.5
B. Moisture : 60-70 % of the moisture below and above range moderately of
worms taking place
C. Aeration : 50 % aeration from the total pore space
D. Temperature: Range between 18 0C to 35 0C
Principles of phospho-composting
Phospho-composting is based on sound scientific
principles. During the decomposition of organic
materials, intense microbial activity occurs. As a
result a large number of organic acids and humic
substances are produced.
Some of the most commonly produced organic
acids are: citric, malic, fumaric, succinic, pyruvic,
tartaric, oxaloacetic, 2-ketogluconic, lacticoxalic,
propionic and butyric (Stevenson, 1967).
Phospho-compost is a compost prepared by addition
of low grade rock phosphate and phosphate
solubilizing micro-organisms with organic wastes.
Rock phosphate, as a cheaper source of P
In the process of decomposition many organic
acids are liberated.
Due to this acidic condition, P from rock
phosphate gets solubilized and compost
Raw Cow dung
: 80 kg (60 kg dry+20 kg green)
: 10 kg
: 100 kg
: 20 kg
: 10 kg
: 2.2 kg
: 0.05 kg
Dry organic wastes: Straw, husk, waste from cattle shed, stems of
mustard , sesame, etc.
Green : Waterhyacinth, legumes, weeds, vegetable clippngs, leaves,
Nitrogen required for Stimulating the microbial activity
Pyrites are added due to acidification of the mixture during
composting to prevent volatilization loss of N and
also to increase P solubilization
Cellulose decomposer: Aspergillus awamori (fungi)
(500g mycelial mat / ton of materials)
(50 ml/kg of materials having 108 viable cell)
Divide entire Organic and inorganic component in 10 equal parts
Preparation of 1st Layer
I part Phosphate Rock and I part Pyrite
Urea + microbial Cultures make it a slurry
I part cowdung + compost + Soil make slurry in water
Dry organic wastes
Covered with Polythene sheet
Keep it for 3 months , yielding 65-70 kg PhosphoCompost
Method of Phosphocompost Making
•Select a suitable upland place, sufficient sunlight, free from water stagnation
•Prepare a base with either brick floor or spread the polythene sheet on the floor
•Collect all the ingredients (organic and inorganic) as per proper ratio for the
desired pdn level.
•Divide the entire ingredients into 10 parts
•Step-1:Take one bucket and add Raw Cow dung- 1kg, Compost- 0.5 kg,
Soil -0. 5 kg and small water, stir the material and make a slurry.
•Step-2: Take 2nd bucket and add urea-200g, cultures-5g and add water small,
make another slurry
•Step-3:Spread dry wastes followed by green wastes and make it 12″ height
•Step-4:Now add slurry from 1st bucket (cow dung etc slurry), next add slurry
from 2nd bucket and spread evenly.
•Step-5: Now spread 2 kg Rock phosphate and1 kg Pyrite
•Repeat the process Step-1 to step 5 and repeat until 10 layers is formed.
• covered the top and side portion of the heap with Layer of mud (soil+
cowdung) and subsequently cover with poly thene sheet to prevent water
•1st turnings after 4 weeks and 2nd turnings after 8 weeks
• Water is added to the heap so that moisture remains between 60 to 70%.
•Add water at each turning to maintain the moisture content between 60 and 70%.
•The compost becomes ready for field application within 90-100 days period.
Nutrient composition of phosphocompost
Phospho-compost application increased the PUE
of greengram (12.90%) and wheat (20.48%) over
(Mishra et al. 1982).
How to Use Vermicompost?
• Fruit trees:
The amount of vermicompost ranges from 5 to 10 kg per tree
depending on the age of the plant. For efficient application, a ring
(15–18 cm deep) is made around the plant. A thin layer of dry cow
dung and bone meal is spread along with 2–5 kg of vermicompost
and water is sprayed on the surface after covering with soil.
For raising seedlings to be transplanted, vermicompost at 1 t ha-1 is
applied in the nursery bed. This results in healthy and vigorous
seedlings. But for transplants, vermicompost at the rate of 400–500 g
per plant is applied initially at the time of planting and 45 days after
planting (before irrigation).
• For vegetable and flower crops vermicompost is applied around the
base of the plant. It is then covered with soil and watered regularly.