Application of vermicompost in crop production results in improved soil chemical properties. Studies relating to use of vermicompost as alternative to synthetic fertilizers have gotten considerable attention as the demand for organically produced agricultural products increases. Goat manure has been reported to be rich in nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. However, preparation and utilization of goat manure-based vermicompost in organic garlic production in the study area is scanty. Thus, farmers have solely relied on chemical fertilizers in garlic production which is a health and environmental hazards and causes ground and surface water pollution due to nitrate leaching. In Manyatta sub-county of Eastern Kenya, farmers use synthetic fertilizers in garlic production which is not sustainable despite having readily available goat manure which can be composted for use. The aim of this study was to prepare and evaluate effectiveness of goat manure-based vermicompost for organic garlic production in Manyatta sub-county, Kenya. Goat manure-based vermicompost was prepared at KALRO Embu station, Embu County between July–November 2018. The vermicompost obtained was dried, screened and filled into bags and was used for growing garlic. A sample of goat manure-based vermicompost was analysed for chemical properties and the results showed that it had very high total N (1.79%), very high available P (52 ppm), very high exchangeable K (1.75 Cmol Kg-1) and it was moderately alkaline (pH 7.73). Hence, goat manure-based vermicompost is recommended in the organic production of garlic in Manyatta sub-county of Eastern Kenya.
Keywords: Goat manure, Organic production of garlic, Vermicompost