Chemical changes during vermicomposting of Mentha waste using Eudrilus eugeniae
Shivendra Pratap Singh Kushwah, Puneeta Dandotiya, OP Agrawal
Vermicompostingis bio-stabilization of organic wastes through agency of epigeic earthworms. Methods of vermicomposting are simple and they require lower inputs of money and labor. Though, vermicomposting practice is gaining some popularity with support of different governmental and non-governmental organizations, but significant acceptance of farmers is yet to be visualized. Some scientists do not recommend wide scale use of vermicomposting. According to them the quality of vermicompost is not good enough to completely replace the chemical fertilizers and use of exotic worms may have adverse effect on indigenous earthworm biodiversity. The demand of soil for nutrients is very high and several years may be required to re-establish biological properties of the soil and to get sustainable results. There is no scientific basis to believe that epigeic worms will harm the endogeic and anecic worms because they have their own specific needs of feed stuffs and habitat. The quality of vermicompost may be improved by using mixture of waste with proper C/N ratio and by managing optimum conditions of pH, bulk density, aeration and moisture content in the medium. A study was conducted to prepare vermicompost from Mentha waste and to determine chemical quality of vermicompost for find out its nutrient richness. For this study three experimental and three control plastic containers of 80x40x20 cm size were used for composting. 20 cm thick bedding of sand and garden soil was prepared in each container and 100 adult Eudrilus eugeniae were introduced in each container. 5 kg of 15 days air dried Mentha waste was spread uniformly over the bedding material of all containers. pH, total N,P,K were carried out following standard methods. Results show changes in chemical properties of Mentha waste during 30 days of composting with and without earthworms. pH of compost decreases 10.2 to 8.2 in the serially observations after each 10 days. While the total percentage of NPK is good enough after the composting period. It can be concluded with fruitful outcome that Mentha waste can be converted into high quality valuable compost at small or large level.