LARGE SCALE UTILIZATION OF WATER HYACINTH (EICHHOMIA CRASSIPES) AS RAW MATERIAL FOR VERMI COMPOSTING AND SURFACE MULCHING IN VEGETABLE CULTIVATIONA.K. Sannigrahi, S. Chakrabortty and B.C. Borah
Vermi composts were prepared from both green and dry water hyacinth using perionyx excavates earthworm at Defence Research Laboratory within 3 and 4 months respectively, indicating faster composting in fresh condition. Total chemical analysis on oven dry basis showed that water hyacinth compost contained about 1.4 to 1.6 % nitrogen 0.8 to 1.0% phosphorus, 1.6 to 2.0 % potassium, 0.8 to 1.1 % calcium and 13.1 to 17.6 % sulfur, comparatively higher values recorded in compost prepared from dried materials. Vermi compost is generally used as a substitute of costly chemical fertilizer under organic farming. Mulching field crops with water hyacinth increased production up to 67 per cent in lady's finger, 14 per cent in potato and about 90 per cent in tomato cultivation as compared to control (no mulching) treatment. Total eradication of this fastest growing aquatic plant by chemical, mechanical or even biological means was found impossible. Thus its utilization in large scale for vermi composting and surface mulching will no doubt help in considerable controlling of this gigantic vegetation. Farmers will be benefited by its proper use in crop cultivation.
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