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How to use your Olla Waterpot

Solving Your Garden Irrigation Issues

2000 years of olla technology has proven that simple low-tech device can solve important issues such as the irrigation of agriculture. Applied to our urban gardens and rural farm lands, this technique has the potential of getting gardeners through the toughest water shortages and restrictions. Using 50–70% less than normal surface-water irrigation, it makes it considerably better than drip irrigation, and virtually eliminates the surface-runoff and evaporation common in modern irrigation systems.

A clay pot is buried with only the top opening above the soil surface and filled with water. The porous walls of your Waterpot allow for water to dissipate into the soil as needed. Because the pores are small, the water does not freely flow out of the pot. 

A suction force is created by soil moisture tension as well as the plant roots. If soil is dry, the water inside the olla will release faster as the soil roots “pull” it out. Likewise, if there is a recent saturating rainfall the water in the olla will remain until the surrounding soil dries. Olla irrigation promotes deep watering and dense root growth which facilitates more efficient nutrient and water uptake. Soil and roots do not go through extreme drying and wetting cycles which prevents bitter tasting greens and cracks developing in tomatoes or melons.

The soil surface remains relatively dry in gardens with olla irrigation which can prevent the growth of weeds and help minimize some unwanted insect populations.

Burying a Waterpot olla in a Rootpouch or plant container

Tips for Using Ollas

• Bury The Waterpot leaving the neck above the pot shoulder remaining above the surface to prevent dirt and mulch from washing inside. Gently pack soil around olla.

• Water from The Waterpot will reach about 30cms  from the center point of the olla.

• Place Waterpots every 30cm in your garden for maximum impact.

• Use The Waterpots in planter containers at least 40 cm in size. 

• Check the water level frequently and refill The Waterpot as needed. The frequency depends upon the soil type, surrounding plant density, and weather. At times it may need refilling every 7 days or as frequently as every other day.

• The lid over the opening will minimize "evapotranspiration" and prevent mosquito breeding.

• Use Your Waterpot in slightly sandy or coarse textured soils. Soils with high clay content do not dissipate water well.

• If you have a very deep soil it is useful to place a saucer or drainage tray at the bottom of the hole where the Waterpot is to be placed. This impedes water seepage bellow while promoting seepage outward.

• Plant seeds a few centimetres from The Waterpot opening. Water the entire area and continue to surface water until the seeds germinate and continue this until roots are well established

How To Care For Your Olla Waterpot? 

We would recommend that if you live in a frost, snow or ice prone area that you dig up the pots up at the end of the growing season to prevent breakage over cold winter months; or if a container garden, that you move the containers to protected spaces. When turning over your soil at the end of a growing season, clean off any clinging roots and scrub to remove any salt or soil build up to free the pores of The Waterpot™ If you have a high mineral content in your soil a solution of 1:1 vinegar and water left inside the vessel for a few hours will help dissolve the mineral build up.