Surface dweller earthworm are reared to convert bio-degradable organic matter like house hold wastes both solid & liquid and farm wastes like cow dung , grass , straw etc into humus rich Vermicompost (Organic Fertilizer). Earthworms are voracious eater and consumes organic wastes two to five times of their body weight and after using 5 – 10% of the feed stock for its growth; excrete castings , which are practically neutral humus, rich in water soluble plant nutrients and growth promoting hormones and are immediately available to the plants for its growth. Tons of disagreeable material can be converted by earthworms, with no odour and the Vermicompost thus generated can be used for fertilizing house plants, garden and agricultural farms and it is environment friendly. The process of using earthworms and microorganisms to convert organic matter into black , earthy-smelling nutrient rich humus is known as Vermicomposting.
The following types of surface dweller earthworms (Epigee’s) are suitable for making Vermicompost :-
- Eisenia foetida
- Perionex excavatus
- Eudrilus eugineae
- Drawiida willsii
The organic manure recycled by the villagers from cow dung and farm waste by conventional method takes about 8 to 10 months for recycling and it has low nutrient content ; Whereas Vermicompost recycled from cow dung and farm waste by ‘Vermicomposting Process’ takes only three to four months for recycling and it has high nutrient content. World over lot of importance is being given to Organic Farming and Vermicompost can be utilized as input for production of Organic Food.