DEVELOPMENT OF VERMICOMPOST TECHNOLOGY FOR ORGANIC TEA CULTIVATION AT HIGH ALTITUDEJ. S. Bisen, R.K. Chauhan, A. K. Singh, Mahipal Singh, B. C. Ghosh and B. Bera
Vermicomposting is a natural process of quick recycling of organic material into nutrient rich compost using earthworms under aerobic condition. It is an eco-friendly nontoxic product and requires low energy input during processing. In the present investigation an attempt has been made to develop vermicomposting technology suitable for Darjeeling conditions in which various organic wastes were evaluated to find out the best organic raw material for quality vermicompost production, insulating material for increasing vermibed temperature during winter for faster process of multiplication and growth of earthworms. Results showed that among the various organic raw materials Guatemala was found superior in respect to nitrogen (3.50%) and phosphorus (0.60%) whereas maximum potash content (3.00%) was recorded in water hyacinth. However, at maturity maximum nitrogen (2.60%) was found in Guatemala followed by tea waste whereas highest phosphorus (0.90%) and potash (1.41%) content was recorded in kitchen waste followed by Guatemala, water hyacinth, tea waste, paddy straw, weed biomass, and saw dust. Total bacteria count was maximum in saw dust followed by kitchen waste, tea waste, weed biomass, saw dust, paddy straw and water hyacinth. Among insulating material, paddy straw + polythene used as insulating material could raise temperature up to 4 - 5 0C in the bed than ambient temperature. Multiplication rate of four earthworm species were studied and highest multiplication was recorded for Eisenia foetida followed by Perionyx excavates, Udrilus euginea and local species.
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