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Comparative Study on the Agronomic Value of Vermicast to Conventional Compost and a Sustainable Alternative to Chemical Fertilizers

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COMPARATIVE STUDY ON THE AGRONOMIC VALUE OF VERMICAST TO CONVENTIONAL COMPOST AND A SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE TO CHEMICAL FERTILIZERS by Marjonel F. Marges

A Research Study presented to the faculty of Lumampong National High School-Indang Annex, Indang, Cavite in partial fulfillment of the requirements in Research I

INTRODUCTION
Food Production is is the process of transforming raw ingredients into prepared food products. Food production includes industries that take raw food products and convert them into marketable food items.

Synthetic fertilizers are commonly used for growing all crops, with application rates depending on the soil fertility, usually as measured by a soil test and according to the particular crop. Studies have shown that application of nitrogen fertilizer on off-season cover crops can increase the biomass (and subsequent green manure value) of these crops, while having a beneficial effect on soil nitrogen levels for the main crop planted during the summer season. Nutrients in soil can be thrown out of balance with high concentrations of fertilizers. The interconnectedness and complexity of this soil ‘food web’ means any appraisal of soil function must necessarily take into account interactions with the living communities that exist within the soil. Stability of the system is reduced by the use of nitrogen containing fertilizers, which cause soil acidification. Applying excessive amounts of fertilizer has negative environmental effects, and wastes the growers' time and money. To avoid over-application, the nutrient status of crops should be assessed. Nutrient deficiency can be detected by visually assessing the physical symptoms of the crop. Both soil tests and Plant Tissue Tests and Fertilizer Application are used in agriculture to fine-tune nutrient management to the crops needs. In some cases, Fertilizer Application in soil is recommended in Organic and natural way .One of these is Vermiculture.
Vermiculture or worm farming is the utilization of some species of earthworm such as Eisenia Fetida ( commonly known as red wiggler , brandling , or manure worm.) , E. foetida and Lumbricus Rubellus to make vermicompost which is a nutrient rich , natural fertilizer and soil conditioner which is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter.The African Night Crawler is the most recommrnded earthworm to be use in vermicomposting/vermiculture in the Philippines.
Vermicast also called worm castings , worm humus or worm manure is the end-product 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.
Vermicompost is the product or process of composting using various worms, usually African Night Crawler , red wigglers, white worms, and other earthworms to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposting vegetable food waste, bedding materials and vermicast.
The Researcher needs to study the effect of the Vermicast in plants in the fertility of the soil and the growth of the plant.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This study aims to compare the effect of vermicast and ordinary compost in the growth of radish plant. It seeks to answer the following questions: 1. How will the use of vermicast and ordinary compost affect the following ? a. Length of radish b. No. of leaves per radish c. Size of leaves per radish d. Color of leaves of radish e. Height of radish f. Final weight of each of the radish 2. How will the effect of the vermicast and ordinary compost on the growth of radish plants differ in terms of : a. Average height per radish b. No. of leaves per radish c. Color of leaves d. Size of leaves e. Size of radish f. Total weight of radish per sample per plot

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY 1. Describe the effect of vermicast and ordinary compost in terms of the ff : a. Length of radish b. No. of leaves per radish c. Color of leaves d. Size of leaves e. Size of radish f. Final weight of each of the radish root

2. Determine the effect of vermicast and ordinary compost. a. Average height per radish b. No. of pods per plant c. No. of leaves per plant d. Color of leaves per sample e. Size of radish per sample f. Total weight of the plants per plot.

HYPOTHESIS
Vermicast and Conventional compost have similar agronomic value on the cultivation of radish plant in terms of : length of radish, no. of leaves per radish , color of leaves size of leaves, size of radish , , size of leaves ,size of radish , final weight of each of the radish root.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY Vermicomposting is not just composting with worms. It is one way of lowering and decreasing the greenhouse gases, its ecofriendly and produces one of the most significant nutrient enriched fertilizers which enable the soil to be healthy. Aside from being affordable, it is inexpensive and low maintenance to produce. Applying vermicomposting to our society nowadays, could be a way to our improvement.
Vermicomposting is the pursuing of using worms to be transformed in organic waste to be more fertilize, it is more beneficial. It is nutritionally more beneficial than plant compost due to the addition of worm excrement called worm castings. Worm casting hold beneficial micro-organisms larger than traditional compost. Vermicomposting is less labored-intensive than traditional plant composting because the worms do almost all of the work, and it enables to improve the oil structure. Because of the slime produced by the worm bodies, nutrients stay in soil even after a good rain.
Vermicomposting has application that can lessen the global warming, particularly decreasing the methane and nitrous oxide levels in landfills.

DEFINITION OF TERMS
Height of the leaves – refers to the length of radish leaves harvested.
Radish - is a root vegetable that has a nutritive value.
Vermicast – The nutrient rich by product of earthworms used as a soil conditioner.
Vermicompost – is the product or process of composting using various worms, usually red wrigglers, white worms, and other earthworms to create a heterogeneous mixture of decomposting vegetable or food waste, bedding materials, and vermicast.
Vermicomposting – is the usage of earthworms to convert vegetable waste to a 100 % natural plant fertilizer.
Vermiculture – is the side issue of the breeding of common earthworms for use of vermicomposting.
Vermiworm – is an earthworm used in vermiculture in producing organic fertilizers.
Weight of the radish – refers to the weight of radish harvested
SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS
The main purpose of this study is to determine the effect of vermicast and ordinary compost on radish plants in terms of: length of radish, no. of leaves per radish , color of leaves size of leaves, size of radish , , size of leaves ,size of radish , final weight of each of the radish root. . Vermiworm to be used is African night crawler in the production of vermicast. The researcher will construct a garden plot. 3 plots will be prepared with 5 replication for each plot with an area of 3 sq. m in size. And 1 plot for control setup. The actual experimentation will be done on July to September 2014.

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Radish or mooli has a long been used in Indian households to add flavor to curries or to make mouth-watering mooli paratha. Grown underground, this white tuber is packed with nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants that can only add years to your life but can elp you fight diseases like cancer and diabetes. These are the top 9 health benefits of radish or mooli.
Reduces your risk of cancer
Cancer is a highly feared disease, but unfortunately it is not very uncommon these days. Radish contains phytochemicals that have anti- carcinogenic properties. Additionally, they have vitamin C which helps keep your body and cells healthy, thus keeping cancer at bay.
Keeps your Blood Pressure in check
Radish has an anti-hypertensive properties that help control hypertension or high blood pressure. Containing potassium, radish helps in countering the ill-effects of a diet high in sodium thus keeping your blood pressure in check.
Good For diabetics
Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas is responsible in the absorption of glucose. Diabetics are either unable to absorb the insulin their body produces or unable to produce insulin at all. Because of this, they cannot eat sugary or starchy foods. High in fiber, and low glycaemic index, diabetics can enjoy radish as it doesn’t cause blood sugar level to rise.

Beats cold and cough
If you’re prone to constant cough and cold, it might be a good idea to include radish in your diet. The vegetable has anti-congestive properties which helps in clearing the mucus formed in your throat. Additionally, radish also improves your immunity which keeps infections that lead to cold and cough at bay.
Helps you recover from jaundice
Radish is powerful when it comes to eliminating toxins. This helps keep your liver and stomach in mint condition. What makes radish effective in controlling jaundice is that it helps regulate the amount of bilirubin in the blood and increases the oxygen supply within the body. This helps keep a check on the destruction of red blood cells caused by jaundice.
Flights constipation
Most people will have battled constipation in their life and it is definitely not a pleasant condition to be in. Radish has a high fiber content shich helps clear the food stuck in your colon. Additionally, it helps facilitate the secretion of bile which again is good for your digestive system.
Helps with weight loss
Radish is extremely low in calories, and the fiber content in them leaves you feeling fuller. With a single 100g serving containing just 16 calories, radish can be a part of any weight loss diet.

Relieves the sting of an insect bite
Insect bites can be very irritating and if not treated, they can lead to further complications. Radish has anti-priuritic properties which makes it an effective cure for such bites. Radish juice can also be used to bring down the inflammation, reduce the pain and soothe the bitten area.
Keeps you looking younger
Containing vitamin C and antioxidants, radish can be eaten to prevent your skin from free-radical damage. You can even apply crushed, raw radish on your skin as it has cleansing properties.
(http://health.india.com/category/fitness/)
5 Benefits of Vermicomposting
Organic
The most important aspect of compost produced by earthworms is that it is 100 % organic. The are no harmful chemicals and it does not need to be mixed with anything.
More Nutritious Vermicomposting produces a product that is naturally designed to benefit plants in several different ways. The most significant benefits is that the nutrients in earthworm compost are very easily absorbed by the roots of plants. Unlike chemical fertilizers, vermicompost is not easily flushed from the soil because of the worm mucus that it contains. Plants have longer to obtain the nutrients and get the maximum benefit.

Micro Organisms As the compost is passing through the body of the worms it is enriched with bacteria and microbes. These helps to become more disease resistant and also repel some plant pests. The presence of increased microbial activity can make the area much more attractive to birds which help to remove plant pests.
Water Retention Vermicompost is a colloid and hols up to nine times its own weight in water. This can make a huge difference when there is a dry spell. The water is held at an organic level so tends to evaporate slowly while still being available to the plants.
Slow Nutrition Release Chemical fertilizers born bard plants with huge amounts of nutrients that are going to drain by and eventually be washed out of the soil by the rain. The chemicals can get into the aquifers and contaminate your drinking water. This is avoided by using compost which is lower in nutrient content but which does not get washed out of the soil. The nutrients are held in place and release slowly so that the plants receive what they need over prolonged period.
(http://www.doityourself.com/stry/7-benefits-of-vermicomposting)
What are the uses of Vermicompost ? Vermicomposting uses worms to transform organic waste into high-quality compost. Worms can continually process small additions of waste, whereas the addition of new scraps to a small composting bin can easily throw standard composting systems off killer. Worms add nutrients to soil. The “casts” that have passed through a worm contain up to eight times as many nutrients as their feed.

Paper and Cardboard Reuse You can used shredded newspaper or computer paper as the bedding material for worms during the vermicomposting process. Vermicomposters recommend mixed bedding, so use a combination of newsprint and computer paper, together with some cardboard. Avoid using any shredded cardboard that has been used for insulation because it may have been treated with chemicals that will harm the worms.
(http://www.livestrong.com/article/201027-what-are-the-uses-of-vermicompost)

REVIEW OF RELATED STUDIES
Based on the study of Dr. Rajiv Sinha, in India and Australia have been shown to remove heavy metals from soil, which he termed vermin remediation. Vermicomposting is the usage of earthworms to convert vegetable waste to a 100% natural plant fertilizer. Vermiculture is the side issue of the breeding of common earthworms for use in vermicomposting. The use of worm farms for vermicomposting is becoming a favorite way of converting waste to a valuable product while also growing more worms to increase the capacity of the worm farms. Vermicompost is a colloid and holds up to nine times its own weight in water. This can make a huge difference when there is a dry spell. The water is held at an organic level so tends to evaporate slowly while still being available to the plants.
According to Ndegwa, P.M.; Thompson, S.A.; Das, K.C (1998) in the sudy “ Effects of stocking density and feeding rate on vermicomposting of biosolids ”, vermicast have been shown to contain reduced levels of contaminants and a higher saturation of nutrients than do organic materials before vermicomposting.
As stated in “ Composting with earthworms ” (http://herronfarms.webs.com/blog/). Herron Farms Dawsonville Ga. Retrieved March 26, 2013, One of the earthworn species most often used for composting is the Red Wiggler (Eisenia fetida or Eisenia Andrei); Lumbricus rubellus (a.k.a. earthworm or dilong (China) is another breed of worm that can be used, but it does not adapt as well to the shallow compostbin as does Eisenia fetida. European nightcrawlers (Eisenia hortensis) may also be used. Users refer to European nightcrawlers by a variety of other names, including dendrobaenas, dendras, and Belgiannightcrawlers. African Nightcrawlers (Eudrilus eugeniae) are another set of popular composters. Lumbricus terrestris (a.k.a Canadian nightcrawlers (US) or common earthworm (UK)are not recommended, as they burrow deeper than most compost bins can accommodate.
Methodology
Research Design
The researcher will use experimental method. This method is designed to evaluate the effect of vermicstt and ordinary compost on the growth of radish root vegetable.
Materials
The researcher use the following materials in the study: radish seeds, water, soil, vermicast, worm ( African night crawler ) and compost
Table 1: Growth Response of Radish from different Composition Plant Characteristics | PLOT NO. 1Radish with Vermicast | PLOT NO. 2Radish with Ordinary Compost | PLOT NO. 3Radish with Synthethic Fertilizers | | S1 | S2 | S3 | S4 | S5 | S1 | S2 | S3 | S4 | S5 | S1 | S2 | S3 | S4 | S5 | 1. Color of Leaves | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 2. No. of leaves | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 3. Size of leaves | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 4. Height of leaves (cm.) | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 5. Length of Radish (cm.) | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 6. Weight of Radish (grams) | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

This table will show the characteristics of each plant sample in terms of the height of plant, weight of plant, color of leaves, no. of leaves per plant and root condition.

Methods

A. Preparation of Vermibin
The needed materials are 10 hallow blocks, compost and vermiworm. The researcher used vermibin for the production of vermicompost.

B. Preparation of food for vermiworm
The needed materials are kakawati leaves, ipil ipil leaves and banana trunk. The researcher prepared this for the food of vermiworm. C. Preparation of Planting materials
The needed materials are seed box, seedlings, soil, vermicompost and water. The researcher used these planting materials for the study of the effect of vermicompost to the radish plants. D. Transplanting
After 14 days the radish plants were transplanted from the seed box to the plots. Each plot was consisted of 10 radish plants. E. Preparation for the experimental setup on radish * Site selection * Select ideal place that are silt loam or sandy loam, well drained, friable mixed with organic matters. This is also the ideal temperature for high survival of seed germination. * Prepare the land thoroughly * Plan the soil in the field 3 times. Use disc plow to obtain a deepness of 40 centimeters. Harrow the field to have a finer kind of soil. * Construct a seedbed * The measurement should be 1 meter wide and 15 centimeters in height, make a thin shallow on the beds with measurement of 25 centimeters apart and deepness of 2 centimeters.

* Use drill method of planting * Drill the seeds into the furrow in the seedbed thinly with deepness of 14 centimeters and 25 centimeters apart. Cover the seed with fine soil in the seedbed. In one hectare, it can accommodate 20 kilos of seeds. Thin seedling as soon in the seedbed. * Hill-up rows * It helps to produce big roots of the plants. Regular cultivation help radish to grow healthy and robust. Extra care is needed during the hill up in order to avoid damaging the plants by injuring the developing roots. * Irrigate radish during growth period * The roots will develop quickly and grow rapidly if the soil is moist most of the time. Watering is limited only during the early months of its growth. Once radish started to enlarge its root, watering has to stop or maximize. Flooding the plant is not recommended for the root will rot. * Maintain regular weeding activities * Do weeding after 2 weeks after planting. Regular shallow cultivation is necessary to remove emerging weed that may compete with radish in taking the soil nutrients. It is also needed to make the loose for the plants to grow without stress. Cultivate only with enough deepness just to cut off the emerging weed below the surface.
Data Gathering Procedure
Gathering data was simply done by quantitative observation for 12 consecutive weeks for the effect of vermicast on the growth of radish plants in terms of height, weight, color of leaves, no. of leaves per plant and the root condition.
Statistical Analysis of the Data
The data to be gathered from the characteristics of plant will be analyzed in terms of average mean, percentage and ANOVA.…...

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