olla: A cool terracotta watering pot that sits below ground and realeases water slowly by seeping through the whole of the pot.
Olla Garden Watering Pots
Below is an excerpt from www.onewintrynightollas.com • Menasha, WI
Ollas are low-tech irrigation pots that were first documented in China about 2000 years ago, and many researchers think they’ve been used as long as 4000 years. They continue to be widely used in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and there is increasing awareness of them as cost effective irrigation in the U.S.
They are clay pots that have been fired at low temperatures, allowing them to remain porous. When filled with water, they SLOWLY seep water out through the walls of the pot.
Strong root systems are encouraged, as the roots of the plants grow toward the Olla, and eventually create suction to pull water through the Olla’s walls as needed, creating almost 100% water efficiency.
To use an Olla, bury it to it’s neck and fill it with water. Continue overhead watering until your plants roots are established (a few weeks)… after that, just fill the Olla An Olla will provide water outwards a distance about the same as it’s diameter, or more with larger Ollas.
Ollas make watering easy and efficient…. fill them every 5- 10 days, and enjoy an estimated 50%-70% reduced garden water usage, while strengthening roots and reducing weeds!
My largest Ollas hold 1.25 gallons, although I make many shapes and sizes. Contact me with questions, or check out my Ollas (or other pottery!) at www.onewintrynight.etsy.com
Make your own Olla
To make one of your own, select unglazed terracotta pots with saucers. For some, the saucer will become the lid and others it will be the base.
Olla 1 – single pot with wide mouth
- Cover the base hole with a pancake of plumber’s putty. To strengthen the bond put pancakes on both inside and outside the pot. This solution allows you to return the pot to its former use.
- For permanent solutions you can fill the bottom of the whole with a cement mixture after covering the base hole with a pancake of plumbers putty on the outside of the pot.
Olla 2 – single pot with upright vase shape
- Ensure the saucer is larger than or equal to the size of the opening. Fill the saucer halfway with a cement mixture. Place the pot upside down into the cement. The hole facing upwards becomes the watering opening.
- You can fashion a stopper out of cement. Start with waxpaper. Using the hole as a gauge, shape the paper into a cone shape. Tape the bottom of the cone as well as the side. Place back in the hole. Add cement. You can then balance the cone to ensure a good fit. For a little sparkle, add glass beads at the top.