Friday, March 28, 2014

Make Your Own Ollas to Water Your Garden

This is a DIY olla.  Pronounced oy-ya.  These are used to hold water and let it slowly seep into your garden bed where you have buried it.  It waters the plants and saves on water.  I live in north central Texas and we are in a very severe drought, water conservation is definitely needed.  However I also wanted to start a vegetable garden and felt that in addition to soaker hoses this would be a good option.

Ollas seem to be a southwest Native American or Mexican idea that has been used for many generations.
This is what a regular clay olla looks like.  These, however, were not in my budget as they run upwards of $30 each, being handmade pottery.  I found several DIY tutorials on blogs and videos so I decided to make my own.
I bought two 8" unglazed flower pots for each one and used Gorilla Glue to attach them together.  The glue is water activated so you have to wet the areas you intend to glue together.  
I glued the pots together first, wetting the edges and using a thick bead of glue.  It may drip but no matter as no one will see it since it will be buried.
Sometimes the pots are not perfectly even and you will need to fill in the holes.  After your first gluing is dry you can wet the area and add more glue.  It expands and fills the crack.  One person tried using a silicone glue but found it did not work very well and that Gorilla Glue was perfect for gluing the 2 pots together.
To plug the bottom hole I first tried using a silicone based glue to attach a plastic cap as Gorilla Glue would not stick to plastic very well.  However I had 2 ollas out of 8 that I have had to redo as the cap came loose.  They might have had something oily on them that prevented them from adhering, I'm not sure.  My fix was to use a piece of broken tile that had an unglazed side and use Gorilla Glue to attach it.  I will be using this method in the future.

I highly suggest testing your pots before burying them, just fill with water and let them sit for a while to make sure you have no leaks.
You want to bury the pot almost to the top, fill with water and place a rock, or in my case a piece of tile over the hole to reduce evaporation and keep out mosquitos.  

The roots of the plants will seek out the moisture and will grow toward the pot.  A pot this large will attract roots from up to 18" away from what I have read.  I put my pots about 18" apart as it is so very dry here.

It's not hot yet but in 60-75 degree weather the pots were still half full after a week, I will give an update later on to let you know how they are doing.

1 comment:

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

What a great idea!!!


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