Earthworms - breeding them for the production of vermicompost

Biohumus is a natural natural organic fertilizer. This is one of the safest fertilizers we use. This is the end product of the decomposition of organic matter, which is provided by earthworms. Modern vermikhozyaystvo engaged in the cultivation of earthworms for the production of biohumus. But biohumus can produce any gardener on your site. As a result of intensive work of worms, 4-6 tons of biohumus are produced from 10 tons of manure or other wastes - pure complex fertilizer, which is ten times( !) More effective replacing 40-60 tons of manure, which is required by application rates for each hectare of arable land.

Contents:
  • Features of the existence of the earthworm
  • How the earthworm produces biohumus
  • Production of biohumus by the earthworms on the garden site

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Features of the existence of the earthworm

Learning this amazing lively pharmacy is the glitchOf the wide variety of earthworms — more than 6,000 species found in the soil, a variety of soil substrates all over the world — so far only one( !) Species — manure or compost worm — Risenia foetida — is widely used for manure composting, other organic waste is introduced intovermiculture in many countries for the production of vermicompost.

This is a relatively small worm( 6-10 cm) of dark red or red-brown color. The translation of its Latin specific name means "stinky", as in case of anxiety, the worms secrete a drop of bright yellow liquid with a strong odor from the tail end."Stinker" has a high fecundity, hardy to changing environmental conditions, is very widespread. Inhabits most often in rotted manure, in compost pits.

Two subspecies of this worm are described: non-hairless - in the north of the Mediterranean, striped in the north of Europe and in Russia. Their local populations — local clusters — also differ greatly in the rate of growth and reproduction, i.e.by productivity, which is associated with genetic differences.

The first of these was used to develop “commercial” cultures. Grown under the name "California Red Hybrid".He was brought to Russia through Ivanovo-Frankovsk from Poland and Hungary.

At the University of Moscow, a selection of new industrial lines is carried out on the basis of a genetic collection from different populations of earthworms. On the basis of genetic methods, their genetics and the properties of the resulting biohumus are studied.

How do they breed? All worms, including rain worms, are hermaphroditic, i.e.each individual has male and female reproductive systems. After a mutual exchange of seeds, each of a pair of worms in the front of the body in a few days forms a “belt” - a mucous thickening 4-5 segments wide with a large supply of nutrients. When it is dropped through the head end of the body, the egg and the seed fall into the belt, fertilization occurs. In the external environment, a “belt” with several fertilized eggs is formed into a capsule with a dense shell, the so-called cocoon with embryos, similar to a buckwheat grain. Germs develop there, and then a 1–5 cm long worm hatches.

A mature earthworm gives 1–4 cocoons under optimal conditions weekly. And from each cocoon in about three weeks from 2 to 10 larvae hatch( about four survive).After three months, the hatched worms become sexually mature. On average, one worm gives offspring - 300-400 individuals per year. The life span of manure worms, according to various sources, is from 3 to 15 years.

The body of the worm is divided into segments that carry 4 pairs of setae each. They are used to move the worm. Thanks to contractions of the ring and longitudinal muscles, the worms “rammed” the soil in search of better living conditions. Where the soil is very dense, the worms simply eat up their moves.

Worms breathe the entire surface of the body, which they are constantly covered with mucus. When the mucus dries out, the worm dies.

Worms are very susceptible to the slightest vibrations of the soil and very well find food by smell. Earthworms feed at night. Their menu includes semi-decomposed organic remains of plants and animals in the soil and on its surface. Good food for them is cow dung. In the soils under the cover of the forest, worms feed on leaf litter. Worms can eat fresh leaves of cabbage, onions, horseradish, carrots.

Earthworms prefer moist and well-aerated soils. They do not tolerate drought and frost and are very sensitive to soil acidity. Acidic soils contain little calcium, which is necessary for the normal functioning of worms. In soils where the pH is below 4.5, worms do not live. Worms are most active in spring and autumn, when the soil is warm and there is enough moisture in them.

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How a earthworm produces biohumus

Aristotle called earthworms the intestines of the whole earth. The ancient Chinese called them the angels of the soil. How do earthworms produce biohumus? What is going on? The fact is that, passing through the digestive tract of the earthworm, organic waste undergoes not only physical but also chemical transformations. They are ground by grinding with grains of sand, like in the craw of a bird, calcined with the secret of a special gland, processed with digestive juices, enzymes, mixed with metabolic products that enter the intestinal lumen from the excretory organs of the worms themselves and the microflora of their intestines( uric acid, urea, etc.)d.).Many complex compounds decompose to simpler mineral substances, and are converted into a form accessible to the plant.

And in the intestines of earthworms, cellulose decomposition occurs, plant tissues are partially mineralized, the concentration of biogenic elements( including potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium) increases, and the organic and inorganic acids contained in the processed substrate are neutralized. At the exit - it turns out hygroscopic granules - caprolites.

Their weight can reach several hundred tons per hectare. In composition, they differ from the chemical composition of the soil. In addition to calcium, they contain large quantities of nitrogen compounds and other mineral substances in a form that is accessible to plants. Therefore, caprolites are an excellent additive to the soil for growing plants. Due to their presence, the soil acquires a good structure, its water-holding capacity increases, its air regime improves. In addition, caprolites are an excellent substrate for soil microorganisms, increasing their number many times.

That's how biohumus turns out.

Biohumus obtained after processing by drying and screening, due to the abundance of nutrients, enzymes, growth accelerators, beneficial microflora, and other valuable properties, is a good environmentally friendly fertilizer. In addition, vermicompost contains biologically active substances that increase the resistance of plants to diseases, pests. The earthworms themselves do not get sick( !) And other various animals for which they serve as food, they do not transmit diseases. With a large crowding in such an aggressive pathogenic environment of their habitat, this is possible only thanks to a powerful protective system developed by earthworms in the process of evolution.

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Production of vermicompost by earthworms at the garden site

The first farms for artificially breeding earthworms on waste for the production of vermicompost were created in the late 40s of the last century in the United States. Vermiculture( worms) contain in barns, greenhouses, basements. Place the worms or on ridges, or on racks, in containers, boxes, trays, pallets. The optimum temperature is + 20 ° С, humidity - 75%.To save the worms in winter, it is necessary to ensure their content at temperatures above 0 ° C.

As one of the possible options for keeping earthworms in the garden plot for obtaining biohumus, use old barrels per 200 liters.

The bottom of the barrel is cut down, at the bottom of the barrel at the bottom, three windows of 10 x 15 cm are made at an equal distance to create airflow through the processed substrate, as well as to sample the finished biohumus. At the bottom of the barrel put rotted manure( as options - peat, rotted leaves or grass, ground from cesspools), richly moistened with warm water, a sample of 10-15 earthworms is placed on the surface of the substrate - monitor their behavior. If the worms quickly deepen, it means that the substrate is quite habitable, you can transfer the main batch of worms.

Where to get the worms? Earthworm creeps, of which many appear on the asphalt or on the surface of the earth after the rain - are plowed or meadow worms. They cannot be used for processing manure or composts - they will not survive there. For composting or obtaining biohumus, manure worms are taken, which can be collected on manure heaps of existing or abandoned farms.

But you should know that the “wild” populations of the compost worm with all their diversity are usually unproductive. Therefore, if funds allow, it is better to buy a small batch of earthworms in specialized vermpetemonics. Two breeds of worms are used in vermicomposting to obtain biohumus: Eisenia Foetida or Lumbricus rubellas .

During the day, the earthworm eats as much feed as it weighs. With an initial planting density of 1000 specimens per barrel, already for the first time up to 500 g of biohumus is produced daily.

What can be added to the compost pile where earthworms live:

  • food waste( for example, melon or watermelon rinds, roots, stems, leaves, kernels of nuts, rice, sunflower, onion peel, seeds, skins);
  • egg shells( but not egg white), algae, or washed shells( oyster shells, but not shrimp);
  • old clothing made from natural fibers( old t-shirts, socks, etc.)
  • natural yarn, paper twine, cotton thread);
  • non-glossy paper products( cardboard boxes, newspapers, inserts, envelopes without stamps, etc.)
  • tea leaves, tea bags, coffee grounds;
  • plants, cut grass, needles, leaves, small branches;
  • wood ash, sawdust, chips( but not coal ash);
  • feathers, hair, wool( cats, dogs, etc.);
  • missing food, but without mold.

What should not be added to the compost pile( it can destroy compost earthworms or spoil your soil:

  • fatty meat, fatty soups, various lubricants;
  • plastic, plastic-coated paper, for example, glossy magazines;
  • various stickers, even paper,stamps from postal envelopes;
  • bread or yeast products;
  • salt, pepper, other spices( or only a very limited amount);
  • milk, dairy products;
  • feline or dog droppings;
  • lemon, lime, orange or other citrus fruitsrinds, sap( in excess they can acidify your soil);
  • onions and garlic;
  • sick or infected plants
  • waste from processed wood products.

Try to get your own mini-farm for high-quality biohumus using earthworms - we thinkThat you do not have to regret it.

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