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simple tips for sustainable irrigation

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Every gardener knows that watering plants during the growing season can be one of the biggest gardening challenges. Especially in hot summer weather. You have to water often every day. It takes time and watering may be tedious. However, normal watering of the garden is not water efficient because a large part of the water emitted by sprinklers is lost through evaporation and runoff. But when you use Ollas in the garden, it’s very different. They are so beneficial and easy to use that any garden can benefit. Of course you can buy Ollas, but why not build Ollas yourself? It’s very simple and inexpensive. Read on to learn how to achieve irrigation that can save you money and time.

What is Olla’s watering?

It’s actually a simple system, consisting of terracotta clay pots that you fill with water and bury in the ground. The clay pots are placed in the ground at the same height as the roots of the plants. The water inside the pot permeates through the walls of the pot and moistens the surrounding soil. When the plant roots are nearby, they grow up to the pot and can benefit from this source of moisture.

Advantages of the Ollas irrigation system in the garden

During hot, dry summers, plants’ water requirements can increase because the water on the leaves and in the soil evaporates faster before it can nourish the plants. Using Ollas is a simple, low-maintenance way to efficiently and automatically water your garden without daily monitoring. As already mentioned, Ollas are water efficient and this is very important for a sustainable garden.

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Instead of watering the surface of the soil like regular watering, the water goes straight to the roots where the plant needs it. This is about constant deep watering. Because the surface of the soil is dry, there is less competition from weeds.

You can make ollas yourself from inexpensive terracotta pots and you don’t need electricity for that. It’s a simpler and potentially less expensive irrigation system than a drip irrigation system. We think these advantages are enough to convince you to build Olla’s irrigation yourself.

What do you need to make your own?

how to build ollas yourself for gardens and potted plants

There are simple materials and accessories needed to create Olla’s watering system in your own garden. Ollas can use them for years and constantly water their plants. What could be nicer for a garden! Here are the materials and supplies needed:

  • Spade for digging the Olla into the ground
  • Unglazed terracotta planter, the bigger the better
  • Coaster that fits as a lid
  • Material to seal the drainage hole in the plant pot such as cork

Build Ollas yourself: step-by-step instructions

build ollas yourself step by step instructions

  • Use a terracotta plant pot that can hold at least a quart of water, the bigger the better. It’s important to note that you only use unglazed pots, otherwise the water won’t be able to get into the soil.
  • Fill the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot to keep water out. You can use different materials like cork or even fill the hole with concrete. Concrete is a permanent solution.
  • The Olla pot should be buried deep enough so that the water reaches the plant roots directly. Bury the pot at a distance of about 15 to 30 cm from where you want to grow a plant. The neck of the pot must be above the surface of the soil.
  • Then fill the pot with water and put a lid on the DIY Olla to reduce surface evaporation. Make sure the olla is large enough to accommodate the plant’s root system. For plants with larger root systems, you need larger pots.
  • Plant your plants near the olla and keep the olla refilled all the time so the plant is aware of the water source.
  • You can put water-soluble fertilizer in the Olla, which will be transported to the plant with the water. This is an efficient and less labor intensive way of feeding the plants.
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You can also make a double pot olla
You need two pots of the same size. You need to seal the opening of one pot. Glue both pots together with a silicon glue. Once the glue has set and there are no leaks, dig a hole in the bottom large enough to accommodate the two connected pots. The open hole should be slightly above ground level to prevent soil from getting into the pots. Use the open hole to fill the DIY Olla with water.

What plants in the garden can you use Ollas on?

advantages of the ollas watering system in the garden


Ollas do very well with most types of plants in the garden if you stick them close to the root systems. You can water vegetables, herbs and flowers with Ollas. They won’t work for long rows of plants like carrots, potatoes, leeks, onions or garlic, but they’re perfect for burying next to single plants that bear fruit repeatedly during the growing season, like tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, aubergines, Paprika.

Can Ollas be used on potted plants?

The answer is yes! Potted plants generally need more frequent watering than soil plants, often watering every day in midsummer. Regular watering by Olla Irrigation can be beneficial for your potted plants. With Ollas you avoid the risk of leaving your plants overwatered or underwatered. This is how you ensure regular watering for your plants and they thrive happily.

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