We finally have ollas and I can’t wait to bury them in every corner of the garden. The days of standing in the yard for hours a day with a hose are over for us at last – and they can be for you too. This is a two-gallon pot with a lid.
An Olla (pronounced oh-yah) is a handmade terracotta clay pot used as an ancient method of drip irrigation for container gardening or ground applications. Ancient agrarian cultures living in or near desert regions have used olla irrigation methods for millennia. Thought to have originated in Northern Africa and brought to the Americas by the conquistadors, research has also found ollas used in China over 4000 years ago.
The general rule of thumb when selecting an olla for a particular pot or space, is to keep in mind that the water seeps out approximately the radius of the olla.
How to Use an Olla
1. Bury the Olla in soil leaving the neck exposed.
2. Plant seeds or plants within 5” radius.
3. Fill the Olla with water and let it do the work.
The water slowly seeps through the unglazed porous clay, directly irrigating roots that will encircle the jar to absorb the moisture that’s wicked out by the surrounding soil.
Ollas virtually eliminate the runoff and evaporation common in modern irrigation systems, allowing the plant to absorb nearly 100 percent of water. In places with water conservation ordinances, ollas can help maintain a steady flow of water to plants because they also reduce the frequency of watering.