Watering with ollas|John Dromgoole|Central Texas Gardener

October 5, 2019

Hello gardening friends, welcome to backyard
basics I’m John Dromgoole. Well, watering is getting pretty tough these days. We are
using a lot of water in the garden and we are looking to conserve it the best way we
can. Traditionally we use a water can or a drip system and we are watering from above
that way. We are trying to get the roots down deep so they can get to where the water is
and the nutrients really are. Using the water can to do that doesn’t really work very well,
takes a lot of water to get it down there. So there are some ancient ways of doing this.
There are some techniques that have been practiced by the Chinese for 4000 years and other parts
of the area especially northern Africa does this too. So the watering can is still useful
to you, especially when you put seedlings in because they are up in the surface and
so you use that at first. And then you might try something like this, this is that ancient
watering technique that I was talking about. This is an olla. Its spelled o-l-l-a. and
this thing when varied- let me show you how to do this. You dig a hole for it and then
you begin to get it down to where the neck is above the soil line. So a nice hole buried
in the good soil and then leave this up there. The soil is then brought back around it very
nice, tap it in a bit, keep it tapped in around the device. And then you use your water can
again. You go ahead and poor some water down into this thing and fill it up. Get it way
up here. And it will seep into the soil very very slowly. At some point, the roots of the
different plants around you will make their way over to this. Usually from the center,
its about 18 inches out that the plants will be placed. Not much further than that because
the water’s not going to move that far at first. And so the same thing is done over
here. This is a unique system because as the water makes its way out of here, the plant
roots sense it so they come on over here to where the water is. They will surround it
with roots and take advantage of this water. It takes it nice and deep into the soil. You
can imagine trying to water that deep with a water can or even a hose. Its just not going
to go down there. And what we want is those roots to go nice and deep into the soil. Lots
of plants can be used but seedlings need to be watered at first, and then you’re on your
way. It’s a beautiful device right here. They aren’t fired very hard. They are moderately
fired so that its still very porous so the water makes its way out easily. it doesn’t
evaporate that much either like it does on the surface. Here is another one right here.
This is a small one, you might use it in a container, lets say a whiskey barrel Or a
large pot. This is a good way to do that also. Now you would put a little cork in that or
maybe a fine stone that fits in there and looks nice and once again you burry it up
to about right here and you put the water in there and it seeps out very very nicely.
I like these devices. They are ancient but very effective. Another one though, is for
your container plants and if you are going out of town for a few days. You wanna make
sure they get watered and you don’t wanna have anyone come over and water them for you,
they will take care of themselves. And that’s a plantinanny. And it’s a good way to recycle
plastic. So you take these water bottles that are available everywhere and you have this
clay device that goes down into the soil line of the container plant and this goes right
on top of it. You put your water in it and that sits right on top of it. And there you
have a way to water over the few days that you are gone. Air gets back in there through
this little hole so you don’t have to worry about it stopping and going down through the
soil. So there you have it- some nice ways of making your way though the drought. And
continuing to garden out there with out wasting a lot of water. With backyard basics, I’m
John Dromgoole. Ill see ya next time.

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