In pursuit of vermicompost


Our ongoing quest to secure vermicompost for the Organic Vegetable Garden (OVG) at Grampari started seeing results! A student in one of Grampari’s sewing classes, Aparna, invited us to her village, Rajapuri, to see her family’s vermicompost set-up. Five team members and the sewing class girls from Rajapuri hopped in the Bolero for an impromptu field trip.

Toilet biogas set-up

From the family compound is a lovely view of the valley. Potatoes have just been harvested from field below the house; wheat is sown there now. It was inspiring to see the family’s efficient use of resources. They have a bio-gas setup that is fed by a toilet; they also have cow dung slurry tanks. Every surface, including vertical, such as retaining walls, has planted or volunteer vegetables. Pumpkins grow up banks, tomatoes pop up in every nook and cranny. Different kinds of beans show delicate pea flowers and pods waiting to swell. Big patches of chillies have ash spread amongst them; more chillies than you would imagine one family could use. Guava trees overhang some fields, which are just starting to be prepared for strawberries.

Jared inspects a sample

Aparna showed us three different vermicompost setups. The first two can be watered from the irrigation system to maintain proper moisture; the third is dependent on the monsoon. They are composed of layers of cow dung and green material, with wood ash on top. Aparna’s mother dug into the piles and showed us the finished product, some of the finest vermicompost we’ve ever seen (nearly pure worm castings), and the work in progress, writhing with huge worms! The heap had great biodiversity: beetles, termites, a variety of worms: fantasic! She sells it to the strawberry farmers in the village.

Huge wriggling worms!

We invited her to hold a workshop at Grampari on vermicompost. The team came back excited and energized by a beautiful afternoon in the village and a great learning experience!


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