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 18” from the next of the olla.
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. As the soil dries out around the roots, it will pull more moisture from the olla watering your plants perfectly.
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.
More information about ollas:
1.An OLLA is a terra cotta clay pot; it has been used as an irrigation system for thousands of years, from China to South America and was designed to save water.
2.The OLLA works by soil-moisture tension, which means the plants literally draw the water from the OLLA when needed.
3.Root development is enhanced by an OLLA, since the water is at root level and works around the clock.
4.Virtually no water is wasted in an OLLA, since there is no run off and no evaporation. This decreases water use by 50% to 70%, depending upon the plant.
5.An OLLA takes about 30 seconds to fill with a hose, and can go for 3 to 5 days without filling, depending on the weather.
6.When it rains, the OLLA sits idle. Plants are not flooded or over watered.
7.The clay is a specific combination of natural, organic materials, is fired, but not glazed, allowing for the best draw of water.
8.The 2 Gallon plus OLLA supplies water 18 inches from the center of the OLLA, covering a 36 inch diameter area.
9.About 1/3 less liquid fertilizer is needed in an OLLA.
10.One OLLA will water a 4 x 4 raised bed, except for the extreme corners of the square bed.
11.The lid on the OLLA not only prevents evaporation, but keeps bugs and soil out.
12.OLLAS were designed to irrigate entire gardens, which still works great! Our modern gardening of raised beds and containers match perfectly with Dripping Springs Ollas.
13.Rain barrels work well with OLLAS.
14.An OLLA makes a great gift for birthdays, holidays, and for your favorite gardener. Not bad for a well formed lump of clay!