Thursday, March 12, 2015

“An earthworm is known as farmer’s friend”- K.Devendran, SG/OFI-SEVAI Coordinator.



Earthworm allowed to eat the organic waste to produce Vermicompost in SEVAI Project

‘An earthworm is known as farmer’s friend” mentioned by K.Devendran,SG/OFI-SEVAI Coordinator in a training of farmers trainers sessions of water and soil conservation techniques in Dasilnaickanoor village recently. He enlightened the need for implementing organic farming and the use of vermicompost.He further said, “An earthworm is a tube-shaped, segmented worm commonly found living in soil that feeds on live and dead organic matter. Its digestive system runs through the length of its body. Like microbes, they also add humus to it by decomposing the dead plants and animals in the soil. Humus is a storehouse of essential plant nutrients .It provides high water absorption and water holding capacity through the soil by increasing air spaces. 
Moisturizing the organic waste and cow dung
On turning the humus rich soil comes up. The manure gets mixed properly with the soil when it is turned and loosened. Their purpose is simple but very important. They are nature’s way of recycling organic nutrients from dead tissues back to living organisms. SG/OFI/SEVAI Projects in Thottiyapatty and Dasilnaickanoor have recognized the value of these worms. The earthworm is a natural resource of fertility and life. Vermicomposting is essentially the consumption of organic material by earthworms. This speeds up the process of decomposition and provides a nutrient-rich end product, called vermicompost, in the form of .worm castings. Vemicompost as a bio-manure is produced for promoting organic farming in Thottiyapatty region. Earthworms live in the soil and feed on decaying organic material. After digestion, the undigested material moves through the alimentary canal of the earthworm, a thin layer of oil is deposited on the castings. This layer erodes over a period of 2 months. So although the plant nutrients are immediately available, they are slowly released to last longer. The process in the alimentary canal of the earthworm transforms organic waste to natural fertilizer.  The chemical changes that organic wastes undergo include deodorizing and neutralizing. This means that the pH of the castings is 7 (neutral) and the castings are odorless. The worm castings also contain bacteria, so the process is continued in the soil, and microbiological activity is promoted.  

Organic waste dumped in Vermicompost Yard in Thottiyapatty
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, Earthworm castings have excellent aeration, porosity, structure, drainage, and moisture-holding capacity. The content of the earthworm castings, along with the natural tillage by the worms burrowing action, enhances the permeability of water in the soil.  Worm castings can hold close to nine times their weight in water. Vermicompost is nothing but the excreta of earthworms, which is rich in humus and nutrients. By feeding these earthworms with biomass and watching properly the food (bio-mass) of earthworms, we can produce the required quantities of vermicompost. Manual harvesting involves hand-sorting, or picking the worms directly from the compost by hand. This process can be
Vermi compost storing place
facilitated by taking advantage of the fact that worms avoid light. If material containing worms is dumped in a pile on a flat surface with a light above, the worms will quickly dive below the surface. These methods, like some of the methods used in vermicomposting, are based on the worms’ tendency to migrate to new regions, either to find new food or to avoid undesirable conditions, such as dryness or light. The nutrients content in vermicompost vary depending on the waste materials that are being used for compost preparation. If the waste materials are heterogeneous one, there will be wide range of nutrients available in the compost. If the waste materials are homogenous one, there will be only certain nutrients are available.
The harvested vermicompost should be stored in dark, cool place. It should have minimum 40% moisture. Sunlight should not fall over the composted material.  It will lead to loss of moisture and nutrient content. Vermicompost is rich in all essential plant nutrients, Provides excellent effect on overall plant growth, encourages the growth of new shoots / leaves and improves the quality and shelf life of the produce. Vermicompost is free flowing, easy to apply, handle and store and does not have bad odour,It improves soil structure, texture, aeration, and water holding capacity and prevents soil erosion. Vermicompost is rich in beneficial micro flora such as a fixers, It prevents nutrient losses, Vermicompost is free from pathogens, toxic elements, weed seeds etc, Vermicompost minimizes the incidence of pest and diseases, It enhances the decomposition of organic matter in soil”.-Govin

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