How to Set Up a Claytons Compost in a Tiny Courtyard Garden

by Corinne Mossati

Setting up a Claytons Compost in a tiny courtyard garden is a challenge. It started as an experiment last year and became part of my garden. Here’s how I did it.

How to Set Up a Claytons Compost

How to Set Up a Claytons Compost – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

In my tiny courtyard garden, there’s no space for a compost system. Precious real estate space is reserved for my ever-growing collection of Australian native plants that I amass on a regular basis. Another reason  for not having a compost is the fact that mine is not a proper garden with a border of soil 5-15cm resting on concrete.

So I came up with the idea of creating a quasi compost system using a worm farm. What started as an experiment became a permanent fixture in my garden. Here are the steps.

How to Set Up a Claytons Compost in a Tiny Courtyard Garden

Discarded Worm Farm

Discarded Worm Farm – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

  1. Take a discarded worm farm from council clean up and save it from landfill.
  2. Squeeze it in a shaded spot in your tiny courtyard garden.
  3. Set it up with a layer of cardboard from a delivery box, spent coffee grounds you’ve been collecting from your coffee machine, egg cartons and a handful of worms from your established worm farm.
  4. Feed it exclusively from the garden: garden trimmings, off cuts of herbs, outer leaves of leafy vegetables that aren’t fit to consume, chopped up vegetables that some critter has claimed, dry leaves for browns. You get the idea.
  5. Harvest black gold and put it back in the garden.
  6. Congratulate yourself on creating a cyclical closed loop system that I’m calling the Claytons Compost, “the compost you have you don’t have a compost”.
Black Gold

Black Gold – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

Who or what is Claytons? It’s a brand of non-alcoholic drink resembling whisky from the 1980s. Claytons was popularised by an advertisement featuring actor Jack Thompson in a bar ordering a Claytons, “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink” (link to video). The term “Claytons” became part of Australian slang meaning imitation, substitute, not the real thing.

Sustainable gardening is about getting creative with new ideas and in true Aussie spirit (alcoholic or non-alcoholic), giving them a go.

This was my entry into the 2023 Grow It Local Awards in the Sustainable Gardener Award.


UPDATED 21 April 2023 – I’m delighted that my entry was chosen as runner up in the Sustainable Gardener Award for 2023.

Judge’s comment: “Corinne’s entry shows that it’s possible to create your own compost even in a tiny courtyard. Creating your own compost is an important step in gardening more sustainably as it’s taking food and garden waste that would otherwise have been taken off-site and making it into something valuable for your garden, all through the forces of nature. I also love how Corinne inspires by sharing tips on how together started.”

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