From the beginning of the article: In a small bucket underneath the sink in my kitchen I collect valuable stuff. In there goes banana skins, potato peel, soaked tea leaves, the remains of squeezed lemons and faded flowers, overripe tomatoes, wrinkled paprika, slouching lettuce leaves, along with other leftovers and remainders, more or less decayed, moldy and putrid. Every now and then I empty the bucket on my compost heap, and mix my kitchen collection with garden wastes such as dry leaves, weeds, grass cuttings and dead plants. I should probably turn and water my compost pile more regularly in order to achieve an efficient composting process, but I usually have neither the time nor the energy to fulfill these tasks. Nevertheless, after a year or two, when I dig into the pile I might get the spade full of dark brown compost, ready to be used as a first-rate soil amendment in my garden. Quite often each spadeful also contains a number of identifiable remnants of what was once put into the pile, such as peach kernels, corncobs, eggshells and pieces of wood. In addition I might find various worms, millipedes and wood-lice, which show that the process of decomposition is not yet completed.

How to Cite

Saltzman, K., (2005) “Composting”, Ethnologia Europaea 35(1), 63-68. doi:

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.


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Katarina Saltzman (University of Gothenburg)



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