I was thinking about throwing compostable rubbish into a jar and growing a plant in it while the jar lead is closed as a terrarium before the composting proceeds—and then leave it as it is. I am not sure how much this idea is achievable but here this brings me a few questions that I cannot easily find on google:

  • Is this idea functional?
  • Can a plant grow in a composting pile before the composting is finished, with a little soil? Does composting damage the root of the plant growing on top of the compost?
  • Can composting happen in a closed jar?
  • Will the oxygen used by the compost, and the oxygen created by the plant/moss, balance each other?
  • it would be a miracle if the decomposers lost the land grab in that case.
    – dandavis
    Jul 30, 2021 at 9:53

2 Answers 2


"A pile of compostable rubbish" is not "composting". A proper compost pile will kill most living plant material simply because it is too hot. The interior of a working compost pile can reach 50C or 120F.

Composting is an aerobic process, so it won't work in a closed jar. You will just produce a stinky rotten mess.

  • I'm guessing a jar wouldn't be large enough to sustain 120 degrees F. from anaerobic compost; if it were, we could probably use such as a cheap and effective heat source (however, it would explode if it were just anaerobic compost; if they survived, I'm not sure if plants/moss would stop that). If something would kill the plants, I'm thinking it would be the ammonia, root rot pathogens, moisture overload, or some such. If it were much more soil than compostables (or even no compostables), I would think the odds of success would be improved. I would recommend getting algae to grow in it. Jul 29, 2021 at 16:48
  1. This is not composting* - it will not kill pathogens and weeds, it will smell awfully due to ammonia release, it will not attract proper decomposing organisms like bacteria or warms.

  2. I do it all the time. But I can't wear it works - wait 10 years and come back.

  3. It is acidic. Try to grow something that loves acid shuch as Jalapeño or lilium.

* - it would help to mix in a carbon source such as ash, embers, straw

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