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Vermicompost -When is the ready?

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 Vermicompost can now be harvested 

  1. The compost is ready when the material is moderately loose and crumbly and the colour of the compost is dark brown. It will be black, granular, lightweight and humus-rich.
  2. In 60 to 90 days (depends up on the size of the pits) the compost should be ready as indicated by the presence of earthworm castings (vermicompost) on the top of the bed. Vermicompost can now be harvested from the bin/pit.
  3. To facilitate separating the worms from the compost, stop watering two to three days before emptying the beds. This will force about 80 per cent of the worms the bottom of the bed.
  4. The worms can also be separated by using sieves/meshes. The earthworms and the thicker material, which remains on top of the sieve, goes back in the bin and the process starts again. The smell of the compost is earth-like. Any bad odour if formed is a sign that fermentation has not reached its final goal and that the bacterial processes are still going on. A musty smell indicates the presence of mold or overheating which leads to loss of nitrogen. If this happens, aerate the heap better or start again, adding more fibrous material and keeping the heap drier. The compost is then sieved before being packed.
  5. The harvested material should be placed in a heap in the sun so that most of the worms move down to the cool base of the heap.
  6. In the two or four pit system, watering should be stopped in the first chamber so that worms will automatically move to another chamber where the required environment for the worms are maintained in a cyclic manner and harvesting can be done continuously in cycles.
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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.