Autumn is a great time to re-plan your garden for the Winter ahead and likewise, Spring for the Summer garden. The optimum is not to disturb the olla until the ground or container is turned over for the new season. If it is watering in a permanent situation then there is no need to remove it for cleaning.
If leaves or light rubble have fallen into the olla, fill the olla with water and the debris will float up and out of the olla. If a lot of dirt has accidentally fallen into the olla you can dig it up if it's possible to do so without disturbing the surrounding plants, tilt it on its side and spray the inside with your hose until the dirt washes out.
Too much material inside the olla will affect it's ability to leach water so try to keep leaves and soil out of the vessel.
Sometimes you may discover a fine or thick matting of roots that has developed around the Olla's surface - the water nourishes the plant, not the surrounding soil and weeds.
This can be easily cleaned off by pulling away the roots. Cleaning your Waterpot olla is possible with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water if your water is full of minerals. Pour a litre of water and a litre of vinegar in your olla and let it sit for a few hours. Use a scrubbing brush to lightly scrub debris on the outside. First, remove the Waterpot olla from the ground if using a vinegar cleaning!
No, this is not necessary in most cases, however, keeping them empty of water should be considered an option if winters are severe. Every area is different, so we say rely on your personal experience of your growing zone and common sense.
1. 14 days BEFORE your last frost, make sure the ollas are empty, no water should be in them.
2. Cover the lid. An inverted plate, rock or bucket will do.
3. Pay attention to your particular location. If your area is prone to heavy rains quickly followed by freezing temperatures, we suggest you dig up your ollas for the winter and store them in a dry place. (follow cleaning instructions above)
Here's a handy video explaining the process -
Some simple words of truth about maximising your space in a small space garden situation. Sharing the love of small space growing with the clients of APIA Australia recently talking about how to build a thriving garden on your balcony. The most common gardening myth is that you need space to build a garden - let's bust that myth!
Do you want to enjoy your holiday away from your precious pots and not worry about how your garden is doing while you're away? A little preparation ahead of departure day will give your small space garden the very best chance of surviving without you!