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Project Title

Organic Farming through Vermicomposting in Barangay Macario Dacon, General Mariano Alvarez Cavite

Proponents

Ariel M. Casadia Ma. Regina U. Milante Josephine N. Tabajonda Professor Josephine E. Tondo

Introduction/Background Vermicompost is the product or process of composting using various worms (usually red wigglers, white worms, etc.) to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposing vegetable or food wastes, bedding materials and vermicast (end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by worms).

Many gardeners/farmers use vermicomposting systems for all their garden and kitchen wastes, many more use neat worm boxes indoors to compost their kitchen scraps, reducing their garbage by up to a third and providing their own organic soil for pot plants and container gardens to grow their healthy food.

Here in Manila, there only few spaces that can be used to plant. And if there is one the soil in the city is that rich enough to have a very good yield.

Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of this project are:

1. To instill in members of a barangay the benefits of organic farming through vermicomposting 2. To utilize their kitchen wastes and turn it into highquality compost 3. To create a bedding for decomposition of kitchen wastes 4. To use the end-product soil to plant a seedling and nurture it 5. To determine the good effects of the soil in the growth of the plants. Program Activities 1. House-to-House seminar about: a. Organic farming through vermicomposting and its benefits (December 4, 2013) b. How to create bedding for decomposition of kitchen wastes (Dec 11, 2013) 2. Construction of bedding (January 8, 2014) 3. Culturing of the worms (January 15, 2014) 4. Drying of the seeds( January 15, 2014) 5. Removal of worms (January 22, 2014) 6. Planting and nurturing of seedlings(January 29, 2014) 7. Transferring of the plants (February 12, 2014) 8. Distribution of the plants to the respondents house (February 15, 2014) 9. Observation week (start- February 15, 2014 endFebruary 23, 2014) 10. Feedback of the families (Feb. 25, 2014)

Clientele

10 to 15 families of Barangay Macario Dacon in GMA Cavite

Venue

The venue that we have chosen is in Barangay Macario Dacon in GMA, Cavite. We have decided to choose this place as our venue to extend our knowledge about the planting and compost making because the people here do have enough space for planting crops, and teaching the people on how to create compost will surely increase their crop yield. Vermicomposting is more affordable compare to other fertilizers the market and the family themselves can produce it.

Evaluation

The growth of the plants will be recorded staring from the day that the seedlings are transferred to a bigger bed. After the distribution and observation of the plants, the feedbacks of each family will be taken.

Line Item Budget

P100- fliers/leaflets P1,000- materials for bedding P300-seeds and other materials needed for the planting of seedlings P1000- Transportation

Philippine Normal University Faculty of Science, Technology and Mathematics


Taft Avenue, Manila

In partial fulfillment of the Requirements in Ecology

Community Based Project Organic Farming through Vermicomposting in Barangay Macario Dacon, General Mariano Alvarez Cavite
Submitted by:
Casadia, Ariel M. Milante, Ma. Regina U. Tabajonda, Jossephine N. IV-31 BSE General Science

Submitted to:
Professor Josephine E. Tondo February 28, 2014

INTRODUCTION
Vermicomposting is a simple biotechnological process of composting, in which certain species of earthworms are used to enhance the process of waste conversion and produce a better end product. (Gandhi et al. 1997). It is a mesophilic process, utilizing microorganisms and earthworms that are active at 1032C (not ambient temperature but temperature within the pile of moist organic material). The process is faster than composting; because the material passes through the earthworm gut, a significant but not yet fully understood transformation takes place, whereby the resulting earthworm castings (worm manure) are rich in microbial activity and plant growth regulators, and fortified with pest repellence attributes as well! In short, earthworms, through a type of biological alchemy, are capable of transforming garbage into gold (Vermi Co 2001, Tara Crescent 2003). Vermicast, also called worm castings, worm humus or worm manure, is the endproduct of the breakdown of organic matter by an earthworm. These castings have been shown to contain reduced levels of contaminants and a higher saturation of nutrients than do organic materials before vermicomposting. Containing water-soluble nutrients, vermicompost is an excellent, nutrient-rich organic fertilizer and soil conditioner.

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY


Environmental degradation is a major threat confronting the world, and the rampant use of chemical fertilizers contributes largely to the deterioration of the environment through depletion of fossil fuels, generation of carbon dioxide (CO2) and contamination of water resources. It leads to loss of soil fertility due to imbalanced use of fertilizers that has adversely impacted agricultural productivity and causes soil degradation. Now there is a growing realization that the adoption of ecological and sustainable farming practices can only reverse the declining trend in the global productivity and environment protection (Aveyard 1988, Wani and Lee 1992, Wani et al. 1995). On one hand tropical soils are deficient in all necessary plant nutrients and on the other hand large quantities of such nutrients contained in domestic wastes and agricultural byproducts are wasted. It is estimated that in cities and rural areas of India nearly 700 million organic waste is generated annually which is either burned or land filled (Bhiday 1994). Such large quantities of organic wastes generated also pose a problem for safe disposal. Most of these organic residues are burned currently or used as land fillings. Here in the Philippines, conventional agriculture chose to make use of inorganic fertilizers and thus permeated our fragile soils with high inputs of soluble fertilizers and toxic chemicals aggravating an already difficult situation. Truth is, less than half of all commercial fertilizers applied to our farmland are ever utilized by the plants. The rest only contaminates the groundwater as well as other water resources (e.g. river tributaries).

The soil, after decades of damage from high input farming; get to lose their fertility and the ability to support crops. Soils that are exposed in times of drought can be further degraded, becoming remarkably hard, porous and sterile for growing crops. Clearly, interventions are needed to rehabilitate the soil in these two instances. In natures laboratory there are a number of organisms (micro and macro) that have the ability to convert organic waste into valuable resources containing plant nutrients and organic matter, which are critical for maintaining soil productivity. Microorganisms and earthworms are important biological organisms helping nature to maintain nutrient flows from one system to another and also minimize environmental degradation. The earthworm population is about 8 10 times higher in uncultivated area. This clearly indicates that earthworm population decreases with soil degradation and thus can be used as a sensitive indicator of soil degradation. In this report a simple biotechnological process, which could provide a win-win solution to tackle the problem of safe disposal of waste as well as the most needed plant nutrients for sustainable productivity is described (Wani 2002).

GOALS/OBJECTIVES:
The goals and objectives of this project are: 1. To instill in members of a barangay the benefits of organic farming through vermicomposting 2. To utilize their kitchen wastes and turn it into high-quality compost. 3. To create a bedding for decomposition of kitchen wastes. 4. To use the end-product soil to plant a seedling and nurture it. 5. To determine the good effects of the soil in the growth of the plants.

METHODOLOGY
In order to start the said project, the pamphlets were distributed to the respondents and the facilitator discussed a brief introduction about vermicomposting its uses and benefits. After that the facilitators seek for the approval of the respondents if they are willing to involve their selves in this project. In the following meeting the facilitator conducted a follow up seminar regarding the construction of bedding that will be used as a vessel of decompose kitchen wastes. In the successive meetings the following steps were conducted in order to accomplish the goals of this project. The bedding was initially constructed with help of the respondents followed by the culturing of worms and drying of seeds at the same time. In the span of one week the worms were removed and the vermicompost is ready for planting purposes. Two kinds of plants were used a species of tomato and a species of chili. These plants were planted and cultured for two weeks. The soil was wet before the seeds were planted. The seeds are not placed too deep in the soil. It is necessary for the seeds to be heated by the sun, so seeds were placed in the shallow part of the soil. The amount of water was monitored by the respondents so the plants won't be drowned. After reaching the desired age of the seedling, these seedlings were transferred into another container which provided enough space for the plants growth. Three plants were placed in a can. The numbers of plants were limited in can so that there will be no competition of nutrients. It is needed to be transferred on the right age to give the plants a time to stabilize themselves, and for the roots to grow a bit longer so the plants were not going to die after they were transferred.

After that, the facilitators distributed the plants to the families in the area. From time to time the facilitator observed and checked the crops.

SPECIES OF EARHTWORM USED


The worms used in this study were African night crawler (ANC), known scientifically as Eudrilus eugeniae, it is considered as the most efficient composting earthworm in the tropics (Guerrerro 2009). Even in 1981, Graff (cited by Guerrero et al. 1999) already reported that the ANC was used for vermicomposting in the tropics. The worms were reared and multiplied in shallow wooden boxes stored in a shed. The boxes were approximately 45 cm 60 cm 20 cm and had drainage holes; they were stored on shelves in rows and tiers.

SEEDS USED FOR PLANTING


A ripe tomato and dried chili were chosen as sources of the needed seeds. It is necessary to choose ripe tomato and dry chili because the seeds are already in its mature stage because of this there is a higher tendency to produce seedlings. Fresh tomato seeds were placed in a blanket. This is important in drying tomato seeds because without the blanket, seeds might be blown away by the wind. On the other hand, the chili was placed in a container this prevents the wind by blowing away the seeds. Then the two seeds were placed under the sun so it will be dry. The seeds were dried before planting so it will stop the growth of fungus and avoid toxic production.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION OF DATA Table 1: Observation on Tomato Plant with the Use of Vermicast
Plant Number of Big Leaves 3 4 4 6 Number of Small Leaves Number of Branches 4 2 1 Height (cm) Color

1 2 3

100 130 90

Green Green Green

Table 2: Observation on Tomato Plant without the Use of Vermicast


Plant Number of Big Leaves Number of Small Leaves 8 2 7 Number of Branches 3 2 3 Height (cm) Color

1 2 3 2

120 80 80

Yellowish Yellowish Yellowish

To observe the effects of the vermicompost to the plant tomato, 6 samples were used. 3 plants were planted in a soil with vermicompost and the remaining 3 were planted in a ordinary soil. Looking at the number and the size of the leaves a conclusion can be drawn that those plants that grew on soil containing vermicompost had bigger leaves while those plants that grew in ordinary soil have smaller leaves. Looking at the data that was collected to compare the heights of the plants, the plants that grew in the compost containing soil have small difference and their heights are close to each other. On the contrary, those plants that grow on ordinary soil, have bigger difference because the nutrients were not that enough to make the plants grow equally.

Those plants that grew in vermicompost have darker shade color of leaves while those plants that grew in ordinary soil have yellowish colored leaves. Using this comparison, it can be concluded that the vermicompost does help in the growth of the plants. These branches were ones the leaves of the plant when they were still seedlings. Still these branches are good predictors that a plant already grows because branches carries the leaves and the higher the number of branches the larger the number of leaves.

Table 3: Observation on Chili Plant with the Use of Vermicast


Plant 1 2 3 Number of Leaves 7 6 6 Number of Branches 6 6 5 Height (cm) 94 70 85 Color Green Green Green

Table 4: Observation on Chili Plant without the Use of Vermicast


Plant 1 2 3 Number of Leaves 2 3 4 Number of Branches 2 2 1 Height (cm) 50 43 32 Color Yellowish Yellowish Yellowish

As the data were analyzed, it can be stated that those plants that grew in vermicompost have higher number of leaves compared to those chili plants that grew in ordinary soil. It can be concluded that those plants with higher number of leaves were

healthier because having high number of leaves pertains to the rapid growth of the plants. Chili plants that were planted in soil containing vermicompost have leaves that have darker shade of green and those chili plants that were planted in an ordinary soil produce leaves with yellowish color. This will indicate that the plants with vermicompost have more nutrients that can be acquired from that soil where they were planted. Based on the values that can be found in the table comparing the plants planted in vermicompost and those plants in ordinary soil it can be concluded that vermicompost helped in the growth of the plants. Looking at the table, the height of those plants with height 70 above are those planted in nutrient rich soil, while those plants with height 50 below are those planted in ordinary soil. This observation strengthen tje conclusion that vermivompost helps in the plant growth. Chili plants that were planted in vermicompost have higher number of branches compared to the other. Number of branches also indicates how fast is the plant growth, so it can be concluded that vermicompost really helped in the growth of the plants

CONCLUSION Based on the result of this community based project, ermicomposting can be a faster alternative for the treatment and decomposition of organic wastes, producing good quality fertilizer with nutrients. Above all, vermicomposting reduces solid waste at its source. Every year people throw away 146 million tons of trash. Each person is responsible for generating about one ton of waste each year. In line with this vermicomposting provides a simple, effective, and inexpensive method for processing paper and food wastes. At the same time, vermicomposting empowers each member of the community to feel that they can make a difference to the positive economies of their community through active stewardship of the natural resources they use.

SUMMARY In the process of completing the project, skills such as creating vermicompost and its bedding, the process of planting, taking care of the plants and even observing was taught to the respondents. They need this knowledge if they really want to continue the project. The process on how the vermicompost helped in the plant growth was also discussed to the respondents. And lastly, the facilitators opened their eyes so they can appreciate every organism and its worth. At the end of the project, it can be concluded that the respondents really enjoyed and learned something about the project because some of them wanted to adopt tje project.

In this project, the cycle of life and the importance of every organism were shown by taking care of the plant and by acknowledging the help of the worms.

RECOMMENDATION
1. Organic farmers are encouraged to adopt vermiculture (worm farming) and vermicomposting because these support organic vegetable production Vermicomposting is safe and is not hazardous to the health of the farmers. In fact, the farmers' health is promoted because by using vermicompost, they avoid exposure to toxins and other harmful chemicals. Agronomical studies show that earthworm-produced fertilizer is richer in plant nutrient than the soil, containing five times more nitrogen, seven times more phosphorus, 11 times more potassium, three times more exchangeable magnesium, and one and a half times more calcium. It contains a high percentage of humus, which helps soil particles form into clusters creating channels for the passage of air and water. This kind of humus is found to be more effective compared to ordinary compost and chemical fertilizers and its use can lead to higher crop yield over a longer period of time. 2. Vermicompost can be used as soil conditioner bringing it back to life As it increases soil life and fertility, regular use of vermicompost improves the soil texture and its water holding capacity. It is considered "nature's perfect organic fertilizer" which is very appropriate to those venturing into organic agriculture. As an investment, vermicomposting costs only about Php2.00 per kilo while commercial chemical fertilizer costs Php8.00 to Php15.00 per kilo.

3. Potential in the market At present, demand for organically produced food crops is increasing. Organic fertilizer has likewise increased in use as result of steep increases in the price of commercial fertilizer. These developments work in favor of vermicomposting. Aside from the fact that no imported inputs are required in vermicomposting, producing your own fertilizer makes you less vulnerable to changes and fluctuations in the prices of other commodities particularly chemical farm inputs. There is practically no risk at all in producing vermicompost whether for one's use or surplus production.

EVALUATION
To test if the respondents really appreciated the project the facilitators asked the respondents about the knowledge that they had gained from their collaboration with the facilitator. Most of them stated that they have learned how to create compost. They might not use worms because according to them they are not comfortable with it but still they are willing to continue the project especially they have seen the effects of compost. One of the respondents told that having plants especially vegetables are a good idea, because they will save money instead of buying in the market.

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