I saw these ollas displayed for sale at the North Carolina Botanical Garden yesterday. Bury the unglazed clay pot leaving about 2 inches of the neck exposed. Fill with water. Plant within 18 inches from the center of the olla (creating a 3 foot circle that will be irrigated by the olla). Tempting. Have you tried this technique?
Intriguing, watering is the real key to success in my garden. Not that I have quite figured it out.
I don’t love to water, except once or twice just after a big plant shopping spree. This technique intrigues me.
I have redone my irrigation with microsprays..this wouldn’t do on sugar sand but might work on clay soils in summer..you would have to clean and store it for winter. I tried this with milk jugs. Pain in th neck. Drip irrigation is easier.
I’ve used drip irrigation, but it required stringing hoses which was a pain. I’ve used plastic bottles with bottoms cut off and holes drilled in the cap, and they worked pretty well. But, I looked these up on the net, and there are some small ones that work with bottles, and I may try them.
I may try this large one. Pleas do share your experiences if you try the small one Judy.
Sounds like a great idea further south – frost would mash them here.
Yes, they’d probably have to be lifted each winter in some places but I think they would be ok here.
Never seen this before.
Apparently a long-time traditional technique but I’ve never known anyone who has used one.
I’ve seen ollas in my neighborhood, but I don’t have one. I think they’re considered workable. It’s just, you know, all that digging…:)
True about the digging!
I’ve tried using smaller terracotta pieces to water plants, usually fed by an upturned plastic water bottle. That’s been useful in babying drought tolerant plants while they’re in the process of getting their root systems established. I should try the true ollas like those you’ve shown but they’re not cheap, which makes using them on a large scale costly, and of course one still has to be attentive in monitoring and refilling them. A friend has claimed moderate success with plastic pipe pierced with holes and filled with pebbles to slowly provide a supplemental drip but I haven’t tried that one.
Thought of you when I saw these Kris. Supposed to reduce water usage.
Looks interesting! So far, I only have to water when I plant something new, we are lucky in that we don’t have droughts like you.
That is the way I like to water also Pauline. Give it a sip, a caress and tell it to do good things. Actually I don’t water very much.
I use porous hose irrigation for my vegetables and cut flowers. I think these would work next to a new plant you don’t want to dry out, but it might depend on your soil type.
The roots are supposed to grow toward the olla and using suction, create soil tension. I might try one between two hydrangeas since the wilt easily in hot afternoons but respond nicely to watering. Then again, would I remember to fill the olla?
A great idea… worth considering in my dry garden in summer.
If you try it I’ll be curious how it works out Cathy.
Ollas show up regularly in crossword puzzles but I don’t think I have ever seen one before. Thanks for solving that puzzle.
Ricki, isn’t it fun what shows up in crosswords? My husband and I had careers in computing and we’re surprised how many technical terms have crossed into the puzzles.
This is a great idea, but I think my zone — 5a — is too cold for it. The freeze/thaw would probably destroy them pretty fast. With that said, one could lift them in the fall and replant them in the springtime. I might look into this. Thanks!
Beth, you would have to lift the ollas probably in winter. The technique is supposed to be very efficient. Good luck with them if you test them.
It seems like it would be as much work as just watering. I mean, they still need to be monitored.
Supposedly the technique is very efficient, requiring much less water than surface watering. The ollas do need monitoring, but refilling usually 5-7 days. I am terrible about remembering to water and prefer to let plants adapt on their own though.
Never tried these. Never heard of them, actually.
Using ollas is a practice that dates over thousands of years (as I just learned recently), but I’ve never known anyone who has tried them.
I think it’s so porous that water can slowly seep out. I only water our vegetables and newly planted plants. As flowers go, I prefer to grow native plants and let nature take care of them.
I think your approach is best.
Soil here is too much like the olla for comfort, and there’d be digging to store and then rebury in spring. Something similar I saw in a tree or grower’s catalog that makes more sense here are bucket-like reservoirs that seep out water for young plants, for areas beyond the reach of a hose where water’s hauled to the growing site.
Not sure where you garden Nell, but we have a lot of clay in this area. Although my beds have been enhanced a lot, I too wondered if I could even dig deeply enough to bury the olla sufficiently.