Designing a Landscape: Part 7

Designing a Landscape:  Part 7

Oh, Yeah……OLLAS!!!

Commercial Olla - Urban Homestead

Commercial Olla – Urban Homestead


After last week’s ‘Dirt Debacle’, it was nice to focus on adding a positive element to the garden:  OLLAS!  For those that don’t know what ollas are, they are system for watering the garden with submerged earthen pots (i.e. unglazed terra-cotta).  This watering/irrigation technique has been used throughout arid lands of the world.

I had mentioned this concept to Sandra several weeks ago.  Be both agreed that it would be fun to use/experiment these in her garden.  I had found a couple of sites detailing how to make ollas. (See sites below).

Prior to our scheduled work in the garden, Sandra and the kids made several different sizes of the ollas.  She was going to use them throughout all of her raised beds. When I arrived, she and the kids were in the backyard testing the ollas for leaks.  Testing is done by adding water to the pots, let them sit for a few minutes and watch to see if any water is coming from the sealed areas.  There were only a couple that needed to be re-caulked once they dried out.  We determined which pots would go in which bed according to the sizes of the bed and the pot.  Once the testing was complete, it was time to start digging in the garden for placement.  

**The next time around, it would be better to bury the ollas first, then place the plants around the ollas.  We did it in reverse…..Oh, well, live and learn!  As you can see from the photos below, the plants are spaced around the olla.  We did bury the ollas at varying depths (some ground-level and some 1-2 inches above ground.  Hey!  I think that’s another experiment in the making!  See which depth is better!

Once the pots were buried, we filled them up with water and covered the hole with a rock.  You can also use the terra-cotta saucers they sell in the stores as the cover.  The cover prevents evaporation and the possibility of mosquitoes making a home for their larvae.

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