Sunday, March 1, 2009

Olla Madness ( pronounced oy ya )

Ollas are a ancient Spanish method of irrigation. Here at the Bellevue backyard we try to only use rain water for the garden plots. Around August this always becomes a game of stretch the remaining water supply. So I have been looking for a more efficient use of the water supply.

Last year I used a pipe system to spread water all over the plot evenly. This year I am going to try something a little different. There was no way I could afford 32 commercial made ollas ( ). So I set out to make my own. I took an 8 inch standard unglazed pot. To this you will seal an 8 inch bottom. I used a silicone construction adhesive for this.
A small pot is the glued to the opening, to allow for easy fill up.
The finished cost was about 6-7 dollars each including the glue.

Below you see the finished ollas all line up ready to bury. The last picture is all of the planted and ready to fill. The pourus clay will slowly leach its water right to the roots of the plants.

Here are a few tips :

Use only unglazed pourus clay pots.

Make sure the seal is complete, you want the water to soak out through the clay.

Planted in circles around the pots, so the roots are in the soak zone.

Do not plant woody plants around the ollas, the roots can break the clay.

Be sure to do a test fill before you plant anything. The last thing you want to do is have to dig them up and reseal, killing the plants around them.

Hopefully this will give you a few ideas. Check back in a few months to see how this system is working.