Nomadic Vermiculture–Vermicomposting (1). In situ or on site in Java


There were 2 well known naturalists: Charles Robert Darwin (1809 – 1882) and Alfred Russel Wallace (1823 – 1913). Both searched for the diversity of plants and animals related to natural selection and soil fertility that changed the development of the world. Nearly at the same time when Darwin travelled to the Galapagos Islands in the mid of 19 century, Wallace travelled through the Malay Archipelago or East Indies region that now are Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia (including visited to Java Island).

Wallace spent three months and a half in Java during the dry season in 1861. He said: “Java is probably the very finest and most interesting tropical island in the world; and it is undoubtedly the most fertile, the most productive, and the most populous island within the tropics. It possesses thirty-eight volcanic mountains, several of which rise to ten or twelve thousand feet high. The soil throughout the island is exceedingly fertile, and all the productions of the tropics, together with many of the temperate zones, can be easily cultivated”.

A hundred and fifty years later, like most places all around the world, Java is decreasing in the soil fertility and productivity due to intensive agriculture and horticulture using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, limited resource – organic waste management to produce a high quality of compost, and climate changes or unpredictable climate caused by the global warming. Thus the operation cost for agricultures, horticultures, spice and fruit plantations increase at high cost and risk significantly.

Nomadic vermiculture – vermicomposting is organic waste management in situ (on-site) in its original place using the compost worms (epigeic or surface-litter earthworms) to process the organic waste from the plantation (fruits, leaves, succulent stems, processing wastes), farm (manures, beddings), and food waste from the village nearby become a high quality worm castings or vermicomposts. The process of vermiculture – vermicomposting will be in the trench nearby to the plant canopy. The worm castings produced during the vermicomposting will not be harvested but will be used directly by plants, so it will save the energy and time for the worm castings application. The excessive compost worm population will be harvested and transferred to the next new trench around the plantation with different mature trees.

This nomadic vermiculture – vermicomposting is a part of integrated plantation management, which consisted of high quality selected breeding plants (clove and fruit plants), soil fertility and productivity, rain water reservoir and irrigation during the dry season, modern methods in applied agriculture, quality and quantity assurance, clove and fruit processing includes standard operation procedure of harvesting, food security, post harvested treatment, packaging and shipping, and product development (R&D).

The photo above is the nomadic vermiculture – vermicomposting at the rambutan fruit plantation in Java. This photo was taken together with the colleagues from PT. Cengkeh Zanzibar, Central Java in the mid of December 2015. The image can be zoomed to see the detail.

Basically the nomadic vermiculture – vermicomposting increase the yields and reduce the costs of chemical fertilizers and pesticides; as the beneficial soil microbe population, plant growth regulators or hormones, nutrients, humic and fulvic acids in the vermicomposts will make plants healthier, so it will reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in the near future. Moreover, the nomadic vermiculture – vermicomposting will create a better soil environment and increase the population of the native earthworms (anecic or deep-burrowing earthworms and endogeic or upper-soil earthworms) that can be used as a bioindicator of the healthy and productive soil toward the natural way of farming.

Please contact us at if you are interested in nomadic vermiculture – vermicomposting for the fruit plantations and to learn more about the technologies.

– Bintoro Gunadi

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