Water Irrigation in the Garden ~ Repurposing Milk Jugs as Olla’s ~ Water Conservation
An olla is a ceramic jar, often unglazed, used for cooking stews or soups, for the storage of water or dry foods, or for other purposes. Ollas have a short wide neck and a wider belly, resembling beanpots or handis.
Because water seeps through the walls of an unglazed olla, these vessels can be used to irrigate plants. The olla is buried in the ground next to the roots of the plant to be irrigated, with the neck of the olla extending above the soil. The olla is filled with water, which gradually seeps into the soil to water the roots of the plant. It is an efficient method, since no water is lost to evaporation or run-off.
This irrigation technique was introduced to the Americas by Spanish settlers in colonial times. Agriculture and gardening specialists are teaching it, and olla use is making a comeback in New Mexico and the American West. The state’s master gardening program is spreading the word. An olla factory has been founded in Albuquerque at Growing Awareness Urban Farm to produce the pots. It can be effective for homeowners to use in the desert climate. It has also been put to use by the Global Buckets project.
In their September 2013 newsletter, Ecology Action (www.growbiointensive.org/) describes using five 5-gallon ollas for a 100-square-foot garden plot. The test plot is using 1.25 gallons per olla every four days. The ollas are fitted with caps that reduce evaporation and collect rain.
Make a “poor man’s” olla!
This should help water my veggies this summer. I especially want to put them next to my melons and cucumbers so they can get the water needed (more than some of my other plants).
I water my garden with a watering can, so this little creation should help direct the water to the plant roots, instead of running off into mulch and pathways.