Introduction: Hello farmers and gardeners, today we are back with a great information of Vermiwash preparation process, advanatages and application of Vermiwash.Vermiwash is a liquid extract obtained from vermicomposting beds and is used as an organic fertilizer for crop plants. Vermiwash is a collection of excretory products and mucus secretions of earthworms along with micronutrients from the soil organic molecules. These are transported to the leaf, shoots and other parts of plants in the natural ecosystem. Vermiwash, if collected accurately, is a clear and transparent, pale yellow colored fluid. Vermiwash is a rich source of vitamins, hormones, macronutrients, and micronutrients when applied to plants to help in effective growth. What are we waiting for? Let’s get into the details of preparation process of Vermiwash.
A guide to Vermiwash preparation process and benefits
Vermiwash is rich in dissolved nutrients and amino acids which are easily obtainable for plants. It is a non-toxic and eco-friendly compound, which arrests the bacterial growth and forms a protective layer for their survival and growth. Vermiwash at 5 to 10 percent dilution inhibits the mycelial growth of pathogenic fungi. It has the capacity to encounter worms thereby saving the plants and their productivity. As a foliar spray, it was reported to initiate flowering and lasting inflorescence. It can be used as a liquid fertilizer applied to the rhizosphere. No pathogen can survive in this fluid, thus protecting the earthworms from the diseases caused by pathogens. It acts as a plant tonic and thus helps in reducing several plant pathogenic fungi. It increases the rate of photosynthesis in crops or plants. It increases the number of micro-organisms in the soil which helps in decomposing soil organic matter.
The Vermiwash contains necessary plant nutrients, plant growth-promoting hormones (auxin and gibberellins), enzymes (cocktail of protease, amylase urease and phosphatase that acts as antimicrobic), symbiotic microbes (nitrogen ﬁxing bacteria such as Azotobacter sp., Agrobacterium sp., and Rhizobium and some Phosphate Solubilising Bacteria (PSB)) in addition to the macronutrients and micronutrients. It can be used as a foliar spray as well as soil application whereby it acts as a pesticide and natural fertilizer for the crop plants in sustainable agriculture. Vermiwash is a part of Good Agriculture Practice (GAP).
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Vermiwash is a Brown colored liquid fertilizer, which is collected after the water passes by a worm culture column. As a storehouse of nutrients and microorganisms, Vermiwash is mainly used as a foliar spray for crops. Prepare Vermiwash while maintaining high concentrations of micro and macronutrients, plant hormones to ensure the healthy development of crops.
- The high amount of enzymes, amino acids
- Heterotrophic bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes including nitrogen fixers, phosphate solubilizers
- Vitamins and hormones like Cytokinins, auxins, and gibberellins, etc
- Along with macro and micronutrients, Vermiwash used as a foliar spray
- Soluble Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potash
The basic principle of Vermiwash preparation process
The basic principle of Vermiwash preparation is simple and easy. Worm worked soils contain burrows formed by the earthworms. Bacteria richly inhabit these burrows and are also called as the drilospheres. Water passing through these passages washes the nutrients from these burrows to the plant roots to be absorbed by the plants. This principle is applied in the Vermiwash preparation. It can be formed by allowing water to percolate by the tunnels made by the earthworms on the coconut leaf – cow dung substrate kept in a plastic barrel. Then water is allowed to fall drop by drop from a pot hung above the barrel into the vermicomposting system. But barrels are not a must for Vermiwash preparation and Vermiwash units can be set up either in barrels or in buckets or even in small earthen pots.
Setting up a Vermiwash unit
Vermiwash units can be set up in barrels or in buckets. It is the principle that is very important. The process explained here is for setting up of a 250-liter barrel.
Take an empty barrel with one side open. On the other side, a hole is made to accommodate the vertical limb of a ‘T’ jointed tube about half to one inch of the tube into the barrel. To one end of the horizontal limb is attached a tap and the other end is kept closed. This provides an emergency opening to clean the ‘T’ jointed tube if it gets clogged. The entire unit is set up on a short pedestal made of few bricks to facilitate a simple collection of Vermiwash.
Keeping the tap open, a 25 cm layer of broken bricks or pebbles is located. A 25 cm layer of coarse sand then follows the layer of bricks and water is then made to flow through these layers to enable the setting up of the basic filter unit. On top of this layer is located a 30 to 45 cm layer of loamy soil. It is moistened and this is introduced about 50 numbers each of the surface (epigeic) and sub-surface (anecic) earthworms. Cattle dung pats and hay is placed on top of the soil layer and moistened. The tap is kept open for the next 15 days and water is added every day to keep the unit moist.
On the 16th day, the tap is closed and on top of the unit, a metal container perforated at the base as a sprinkler is suspended. Five liters of water (the volume of water taken in this container is one-fiftieth of the size of the main container) is poured into this container and allowed to gradually sprinkle on the barrel overnight. This water percolates through the compost, the burrows of the earthworms and gets collected at the base of the container. The tap of the unit is opened the next day morning and Vermiwash is collected. The tap is then closed. And the suspended pot is refilled with 5 liters of water that evening to be collected again the next morning. Dung pats and hay could be replaced periodically based on need. The entire set up can be emptied and reset between 10 and 12 months of use.
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Vermiwash is diluted with water about 10% before spraying. This has been found to be effective in several plants. If Vermiwash can be mixed with cow’s urine and diluted (1 liter of Vermiwash, 1 liter of cow’s urine and 8 liters of water) and sprayed on plants to function as an effecting foliar spray and also a pesticide.
Composition of Vermiwash
Composition of Vermiwash contains;
pH – 7.48 ± 0.03
Organic carbon% – 0.008 ± 0.001
Nitrogen% – 0.01 ± 0.005
Available phosphorous% – 1.69 ± 0.05
Potassium (ppm) – 25 ± 2
Steps of Vermiwash production and preparation process
The Vermiwash producer can set up the Vermiwash unit in a large container made of the concrete or plastic barrel of a 250-liter capacity. Drill a hole at the bottom of the container and then ﬁx a tap to it. At the bottom of the barrel, ﬁll gravels or broken small pieces of bricks up to a height of 10 to 15 cm or 10 to 15% of the container. Add another layer with coarse sand 10 to 15 cm or 10-15%. Place hay on top of this layer of soil. Pre decomposed organic wastes or cow dung (10 days old) are added and then moistened. Introduce about 1000 to 1500 juvenile or adult earthworms into the Vermiwash container and moisten the Vermiwash unit is every day. To obtain Vermiwash, continuously suspend water from a small bucket with a single hole at its center. Place cotton wicks or bamboo sticks in the holes so the water trickles down. The water gradually percolates to the bottom through the compost carrying with it nutrients through the ﬁlter unit. Fill the container with 4 to 5 liters water every day to keep the unit moist.
After 7 to10 days, the Vermiwash can produce in the container. On the 15 days, about 35 to 40 liters of Vermiwash can be produced. The collected Vermiwash must be stored in a cool and dry place. The Vermiwash can be diluted to 10 to 15% and can be treated as a pesticide or fertilizer on the crop plants or on the soil.
Effect of Vermiwash on soil property
Organic formulations can be a potent source to move forward soil fertility. Vermicompost and vermiwash combination recorded a significant influence on the biochemical characteristics of the soil with marked development in soil micronutrients and better qualitative improvement in the physical and chemical properties of the soil. Soil treated with a mixture of vermicompost and vermiwash had significantly improved soil Physico-chemical properties comparison to unamended soil.
Extraction of Vermiwash
Vermiwash extracted from the Vermiwash collecting device. The drops of water made the upper surface with different layers of sand, dung, and concrete mixture wet and moist. Earthworm started decomposing the dung present in the container and water sprinkled on the upper layer passes through the dung decomposed by the earthworm. The collecting device is made from plastic or metal drum having a capacity of 2 liters and a tap at the bottom of the drum filled with crushed breaks, about 10cm thickened which is followed by a sand layer of 2 to 3cm thickness, lastly filled with vermicompost with a heavy population of earthworms. Simultaneously added a sufficient amount of freshwater, into the drum and a container kept below the tap of the drum. The watery extract of vermicompost that means Vermiwash drained out of the drum and collected, drop by drop into the container.
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The color of Vermiwash ranges from yellowish to black. After 1 to 2 days the procedure of extraction has been carried out. The different concentrations of Vermiwash collected and kept in a cool place. Some coelomic fluid and excreta of earthworm get mixed with the water which is called “Vermiwash” comes out in the Vermiwash collection container directly through the pipe. Therefore Vermiwash was collected in separate clean containers for final use. The effect of Vermiwash was observed on the different plant species.
Role of Vermiwash in sustainable crop production
Vermiwash can be used as a potent biofertilizer to develop the germination and seedling survival rates in crop plants growing on nutrition depleted soils thus paving the way for sustainable agriculture using organic farming practices. It could be utilized efficiently for sustainable plant production at low input basis green farming. Vermiwash recorded significant growth and productivity in the black gram. Vermiwash is a natural growth supplement for tea, coconut and also horticultural crops.
Dosage for use
Root dip or stem dip – The seedlings of the plants are dipped in Vermiwash solution for 15 to 20 minutes before transplantation. The solution wants to be diluted 5 times with water and then after they can be transplanted. In this way, the cuttings of plants can be dipped in the solution.
Foliar spray – The Vermiwash is diluted with water for 5 times and after that sprayed on the crops. It enriches the soil with nutrients and this helps in controlling plant disease.
Soil drench – Vermiwash is diluted about 10 times with water and soil is drenched with the solution to prevent some of the soil-borne pathogens as it has anti-microbial properties.
Soil application – Soil application enhances the nutrient uptake by the plants and thereby it acts as a natural fertilizer for the crop.
Vermiwash as growth promoter – Vermiwash alone or mix with cow urine is an excellent growth promoter. Dilute one lit of Vermiwash or 0.5 liters of Vermiwash+0.5 liters of cow urine in 20 lit of water and use as a foliar spray. Three to four applications are required for excellent results.
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How to use Vermiwash
We have learned the preparation process of Vermiwash, now let’s see how we can use this on crops or plants.
Dilute with water (10%) before spraying effectively on the plant.
Vermiwash must be diluted 5 to 10 times with water and then applied.
Vermiwash can also be mixed with cow’s urine and diluted for use as foliar spray and pesticide as follows;
- 1 liter of Vermiwash
- 1 liter of cow’s urine
- 8 liters of water
Cost of Vermiwash
The price of the Vermiwash varies from farmer to farmer. However, the farmer can sell Vermiwash at the rate of Rs. 50 per liter.
Benefits of Vermiwash
- Vermiwash acts as a plant tonic and helps to reduce several plant diseases.
- A mixture of 1litre Vermiwash with 1litre cow urine in 10 liters of water acts as biopesticide and liquid manure.
That’s all folks about Vermiwash preparation process and application methods of Vermiwash on plants or crops. You may be interested in How to Grow Hydroponic Peppers.