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Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Worm compost is one of the highest-grade and most nutrient-rich natural fertilisers in the world. So when I heard about the Worm Factory 360, a worm composting system that can be used indoors or out, it seemed right up my critter-loving alley.
The Worm Factory 360 bin makes vermicomposting a simple, clean, and efficient process of turning your food scraps into fertilizer for your garden.
Worm castings (a euphemism for worm poop) can be spread directly on your soil, or used to brew compost tea.
My worm bin arrived in one tidy box with all the components needed to set up my system: stacking trays, sprinkler tray, worm ladder, base with spigot, shredded newspaper, pumice, coir, rake.
To set up the system, start by layering a few sheets of dry newspaper in the bottom of your working tray. After a half hour of digging through our compost, flinging worms at each other and squealing with amusement (or at least, I was squealing), we had a bowl full of slithering, writhing, red wiggler worms. I moved my bin outside and added the worms in one big pile on top of the shredded newspaper. Then, I moistened a few sheets of newspaper and placed them on top of everything in the tray.
The bin needs to be placed in a sheltered area outside, away from direct sunlight and out of the rain. After letting the worms settle into their new surroundings for a couple days, I pulled back the sheets of newspaper and found that most of them had burrowed beneath the shredded paper layer. I found the worms actively crawling around the food scraps, so they were already busy getting to work.
After two weeks, the food was starting to decompose, making it easier for the worms to digest.
Red wigglers can eat half their weight in food per day, so a thousand wigglers can eat half a pound of food every day. In the meantime, if you’ve ever been curious about vermicomposting and want to try it yourself, I highly recommend the Worm Factory 360. Start vermicomposting now, and you’ll have a full tower of trays filled with fertilizer for next spring! If you liked this post, be sure to sign up for our mailing list andget every Garden Betty update delivered straight to your inbox!
More in Jardin, MierdaPeak of Summer HarvestLast week, I came home to an overflowing garden after spending five days in the mountains. Very often microorganisms are not as efficient in natural surroundings as one would expect them to be and therefore artificially multiplied cultures of efficient selected microorganisms play a vital role in accelerating the microbial processes in soil.
Use of biofertilizers is one of the important components of integrated nutrient management, as they are cost effective and renewable source of plant nutrients to supplement the chemical fertilizers for sustainable agriculture.
Rhizobium is a soil habitat bacterium, which can able to colonize the legume roots and fixes the atmospheric nitrogen symbiotically.
Rhizobium inoculant was first made in USA and commercialized by private enterprise in 1930s and the strange situation at that time has been chronicled by Fred (1932). Initially, due to absence of efficient bradyrhizobial strains in soil, soybean inoculation at that time resulted in bumper crops but incessant inoculation during the last four decades by US farmers has resulted in the build up of a plethora of inefficient strains in soil whose replacement by efficient strains of bradyrhizobia has become an insurmountable problem. The bacteria of Genus Azospirillum are  N2 fixing organisms isolated from the root and above ground parts of a variety of crop plants. Apart from nitrogen fixation, growth promoting substance production (IAA), disease resistance and drought tolerance are some of the additional benefits due to Azospirillum inoculation.
Both free-living as well as symbiotic cyanobacteria (blue green algae) have been harnessed in rice cultivation in India. Once so much publicized as a biofertilizer for the rice crop, it has not presently attracted the attention of rice growers all over India except pockets in the Southern States, notably Tamil Nadu. Azolla is a free-floating water fern that floats in water and fixes atmospheric nitrogen in association with nitrogen fixing blue green alga Anabaena azollae. Several soil bacteria and fungi, notably species of Pseudomonas, Bacillus, Penicillium, Aspergillus etc.
The transfer of nutrients mainly phosphorus and also zinc and sulphur from the soil milleu to the cells of the root cortex is mediated by intracellular obligate fungal endosymbionts of the genera Glomus, Gigaspora, Acaulospora, Sclerocysts and Endogone which possess vesicles for storage of nutrients and arbuscles for funneling these nutrients into the root system.
Availability for pure cultures of AM (Arbuscular Mycorrhiza) fungi is an impediment in large scale production despite the fact that beneficial effects of AM fungal inoculation to plants have been repeatedly shown under experimental conditions in the laboratory especially in conjunction with other nitrogen fixers. The group of bacteria that colonize roots or rhizosphere soil and beneficial to crops are referred to as plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR). The PGPR inoculants currently commercialized that seem to promote growth through at least one mechanism; suppression of plant disease (termed Bioprotectants), improved nutrient acquisition (termed Biofertilizers), or phytohormone production (termed Biostimulants).
Recent advances in molecular techniques also are encouraging in that tools are becoming available to determine the mechanism by which crop performance is improved using PGPR and track survival and activity of PGPR organisms in soil and roots. Despite of promising results, biofertilizers has not got widespread application in agriculture mainly because of the variable response of plant species or genotypes to inoculation depending on the bacterial strain used. Studies to know the synergistic activities and persistence of specific microbial populations in complex environments, such as the rhizosphere, should be addressed in order to obtain efficient inoculants. Biofertilizers  is one of the prime input in organic farming not only enhances the crop growth and yield but also improves the soil health and sustain soil fertility. Cost saving on carrier material, pulverization, neutralization, sterilization, packing and transport. This belongs to bacterial group and the classical example is symbiotic nitrogen fixation.
The percentage of nodules occupied, nodules dry weight, plant dry weight and the grain yield per plant the multistrain inoculant was highly promising Table-2 shows the N fixation rates. N2 fixing capacity of Azospirillum in the roots of several plants and the amount of N2 fixed by them. Azospirillum cultures synthesize considerable amount of biologically active substances like vitamins, nicotinic acid, indole acetic acids giberllins. Field experiments were conducted in 1992, 1993 and 1994 during the pre-kharif wet seasons to find out the influence on rice grain yield by the combined use of N- fixing organisms and inorganic nitrogen fertilizer which recorded increase in was yield. The pigmentation that is produced by Azotobacter in aged culture is melanin which is due to oxidation of tyrosine by tyrosinase an enzyme which has copper. The performance of Azotobacter liquid inoculant was comparatively better than all the treatments followed by Azosopirillum for the growth of the polybag sugarcane seedlings. Azotobacter have been found to produce some antifungal substance which inhibits the growth of some soil fungi like Aspergillus, Fusarium, Curvularia, Alternaria, Helminthosporium, Fusarium etc. In South India use of Azospirillum and Phospho-bacterium on the cash crop sugarcane is a regular practice for the past few years with a saving of nearly 20 % of chemical nitrogen and phosphate applications.
Sell only Bio-fertilizers bottles which contain batch number, the name of the crop on which it has to be used, the date of manufacture and expiry period.

Keep Bio-fertilizers bottles away from fertilizer or pesticide containers and they should not be mixed directly. Do not mix the Bio-fertilizers with fungicides, insecticides, herbicides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. In biofertilizer production industry, equipments are the major infrastructure, which involves 70 percent of capital investment. It is an apparatus in which materials are sterilized by air free saturated steam (under pressure) at a temperature above 100OC. Incubators providing controlled conditions (light, temperature, humidity, etc.) required for the growth and development of microorganisms.
A fermentor is the equipment, which provides the proper environment for the growth of a desired organism. It is generally a large vessel in which, the organism may be kept at the required temperature, pH , dissolved oxygen concentration and substrate concentration. A simple version model contains steam generator, sterilization process devices and agitator. Biofertilizers are carrier based preparations containing efficient strain of nitrogen fixing or phosphate solubilizing microorganisms. Although many bacteria can be used beneficially as a biofertilizer the technique of mass production is standardizedfor Rhizobium, Azospirillum, Azotobacter and phosphobacteria. Rhizobium forms white, translucent, glistening, elevated and comparatively small colonies on this medium.
The broth is prepared in flasks and inoculum from mother culture is transferred to flasks. Prepare appropriate media for specific to the bacterial inoculant in 250 ml, 500 ml, 3 litre and 5 litre conical flasks and sterilize. Observe the flask for growth of the culture and estimate the population, which serves as the starter culture.
Using the starter culture (at log phase) inoculate the larger flasks (500 ml, 3 litre and 5 litre) containing the media, after obtaining growth in each flask. The above media is prepared in large quantities in fermentor, sterilized well, cooled and kept it ready. The media in the fermentor is inoculated with the log phase culture grown in 5 litre flask. The cells are grown in fermentor by providing aeration (passing sterile air through compressor and sterilizing agents like glass wool, cotton wool, acid etc.) and given continuous stirring. The broth is checked for the population of inoculated organism and contamination if any at the growth period. The cells are harvested with the population load of 109 cells ml-1 after incubation period. It is not advisable to store the broth after fermentation for periods longer than 24 hours. The use of ideal carrier material is necessary in the production of good quality biofertilizer. The carrier material (peat or lignite) is powdered to a fine powder so as to pass through 212 micron IS sieve. The neutralized carrier material is sterilized in an autoclave to eliminate the contaminants.
The neutralized, sterilized carrier material is spread in a clean, dry, sterile metallic or plastic tray.
The bacterial culture drawn from the fermentor is added to the sterilized carrier and mixed well by manual (by wearing sterile gloves) or by mechanical mixer. The population of inoculant in the carrier inoculant packet may be determined at 15 days interval.
The commercial utilization of mycorrhizal fungi has become difficult because of the obligate symbiotic nature and difficulty in culturing on laboratory media.
I was always one of those kids that was fascinated with spiders, fried ants with magnifying glasses, and picked up lizards by their tails only to be left with the tails, and not the lizards.
Nature’s Footprint sent me one to try, and I’ve been intrigued with it ever since! With a traditional compost pile, you wait for your scraps to decompose naturally through heat and bacteria. They are rich in natural humus, nitrogen, potash, phosphorous, and calcium, all of which contribute to healthy plant growth.
The initial assembly is a simple process that involves stacking up the base, worm ladder, working tray, and lid, in that order.
You’ll need a cup of active compost from your existing compost pile in the garden, or a cup of decayed leaf litter from beneath the shrubs on your street.
I used my paper shredder to slice up a stack of newspaper, but you can also just tear apart junk mail, cardboard, catalogs and magazines.
Luckily, my regular compost bin in the yard is just teeming with worms every time I open it up, but you can find red wigglers (also known as Eisenia fetida) on Craigslist or at Find Worms. That equals roughly a pound of worms, so I recruited my guy to help me hand-pick worms out of our compost bin.
I put mine right outside my kitchen door, so that kitchen scraps collected in my countertop compost pail can easily be moved to the worm bin every week.
When the first tray is full with a few inches of food (usually after a month), you can add a second tray on top and your worms will naturally migrate upward. The worm population will also double every three months, so subsequent trays will be finished at a faster rate. The top sheets of newspaper should be re-moistened when dry, and more shredded paper can be added to the bin if it gets too wet inside. I only check on my wormy friends once or twice a week when I feed them, and it’s more for my own fascination than to perform any real maintenance.
Several microorganisms and their association with crop plants are being exploited in the production of biofertilizers.
The morphology and physiology of Rhizobium will vary from free-living condition to the bacteroid of nodules.
Azolla fronds consist of sporophyte with a floating rhizome and small overlapping bi-lobed leaves and roots. By far, the commonest genus appears to be Glomus, which has several species distributed in soil. During the metabolism of microbes several organic acids are produced and these have a dual role in silicate weathering.
Combining SSB with these residues further resulted in increased plant growth and grain yield.
Species of Pseudomonas and Bacillus can produce as yet not well characterized phytohormones or growth regulators that cause crops to have greater amounts of fine roots which have the effect of increasing the absorptive surface of plant roots for uptake of water and nutrients.

Differential rhizosphere effect of crops in harbouring a target strain or even the modulation of the bacterial nitrogen fixing and phosphate solubilizing capacity by specific root exudates may account for the observed differences. In this regards, research efforts are made at Agricultural College and Research Institute, Madurai to obtain appropriate formulations of microbial inoculants incorporating nitrogen fixing, phosphate- and silicate- solubilizing bacteria and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria which will help in promoting the use of such beneficial bacteria in sustainable agriculture. These Biofertilizers could be effectively utilized for rice, pulses, millets, cotton, sugarcane, vegetable and other horticulture crops.
As an alternative, liquid formulation technology has been developed in the Department of Agricultural  Microbiology, TNAU, Coimbatore which has more advantages than the carrier inoculants. The bacteria infect the legume root and form root nodules within which they reduce molecular nitrogen to ammonia which is reality utilized by the plant to produce valuable proteins, vitamins and other nitrogen containing compounds. It is used as a Bio-Fertilizer for all non leguminous plants especially rice, cotton, vegetables etc. Now, it has been reported that a bacteria Acetobacter diazotrophicus  which is present in the sugarcane stem, leaves, soils have a capacity to fix up to 300 kgs of nitrogen. Mix PSM with 400 to 600 kgs of Cow dung FYM along with ½ bag of rock phosphate if available. This continuous flow of air will prevent settling of particles in the work area.Air borne contamination is avoided in this chamber. The mother culture is periodically sub-cultured and stored in the refrigerator for long- term usage. Moreover, Rhizobium colonies do not take up the colour of congo red dye added in the medium. Usually 1 -2 % inoculum is sufficient, however inoculation is done up to 5% depending on the growth of the culture in the larger flasks. Peat soil, lignite, vermiculite, charcoal, press mud, farmyard manure and soil mixture can be used as carrier materials.
The culture suspension is to be added to a level of 40 – 50% water holding capacity depending upon the population. Production of AM inoculum has evolved from the original use of infested field soils to the current practice of using pot culture inoculum derived from the surface disinfected spores of single AM fungus on a host plant grown in sterilized culture medium.
With vermiculture, you let your worms do all the work by digesting the scraps and pooping them out — resulting in nutrient-rich worm castings. This is a quick way to bring microbes into your vermiculture bin and kick-start the breakdown of your scraps. Mine included crushed eggshells, onion wrappers, herb flowers, and some odds and ends from various veggies.
As opposed to other worms, such as earthworms, red wigglers make effective composting worms because they stay relatively close to the surface and are efficient eaters and reproducers.
You can even put it in a garage or basement (which is recommended in winter if you live in a northern climate, since worms can’t survive freezing environments). No part of this site may be copied, reproduced, republished or distributed without express written consent of the copyright holder. They are the most efficient biofertilizer as per the quantity of nitrogen fixed concerned.
Quality control measures are not usually followed except perhaps for random checking for the presence of desired species qualitatively.
Rice growing areas in South East Asia and other third World countries have recently been evincing increased interest in the use of the symbiotic N2 fixing water fern Azolla either as an alternate nitrogen sources or as a supplement to commercial nitrogen fertilizers. They supply H+ ions to the medium and promote hydrolysis and the organic acids like citric, oxalic acid, Keto acids and hydroxy carbolic acids which from complexes with cations, promote their removal and retention in the medium in a dissolved state. The examination of anthrpogenic materials like cement, agro inputs like super phosphate and rock phosphate exhibited silicate solubilizing bacteria to a varying degree. These PGPR are referred to as Biostimulants and the phytohormones they produce include indole-acetic acid, cytokinins, gibberellins and inhibitors of ethylene production.
On the other hand, good competitive ability and high saprophytic competence are the major factors determining the success of a bacterial strain as an inoculant. Considerable quantity of nitrogen fertilizer up to 25-30 % can be saved by the use of Azospirillum inoculant. Azotobacter cells are not present on the rhizosplane but are abundant in the rhizosphere region.
The important things that has to be kept in mind are that the seeds must be coated first with Rhizobium, Azotobacter or Azospirillum. The mixture of PSM, cow dung  and rock phosphate have to be kept under any tree or under shade for over night and maintain 50% moisture. Autoclaves, Hot Air Oven, Incubators and sealing machines are indigenously made with proper technical specifications. The organic carrier materials are more effective for the preparation of bacterial inoculants. Those colonies which readily take up the congo red stain are not rhizobia but presumably Agrobacterium, a soil bacterium closely related to Rhizobium.
Several researches in different parts of the world resulted in different methods of production of AM fungal inoculum as soil based culture as well as carrier based inoculum. I love to turn weekend getaways into week-long road trips and spend my days in the sun, sand or surf. The final product is not free from extraneous contaminants and not very often monitored for checking the presence of desiredalgal flora.
The bacterial isolates made from different locations had varying degree of silicate solubilizing potential. The lack of organic matter in the soil is a limiting factor for the proliferation of Azotobaceter in the soil.
When each seed get a layer of above bacteria then PSM inoculant has to be coated as outer layer. The solid inoculants carry more number of bacterial cells and support the survival of cells for longer periods of time. Root organ culture and nutrient film technique provide scope for the production of soil less culture.
Soil inoculation studies with selected isolate with red soil, clay soil, sand and hilly soil showed that the organisms multiplied in all types of soil and released more of silica and the available silica increased in soil and water.
Treatments of seed with any two bacteria will not provide maximum number of bacteria on individual seed. For large amount of seeds coating can be done in a bucket and inoculant can be mixed directly with hand.

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