Oh yeah, got Ollas!

The Ollas have been in ground for a few weeks now and appear to be working well. Hard to judge for sure how effective they will be in the long run, as the garden is in transition from cool weather crops to Summer crops. The bed does appear to retain moisture better than with overhead watering alone.

They hold a little over two gallons:

Here is one in a 4’x4’ bed:


looks Interesting . It is a very porous clay pot that seeps water out slowly?

Yes. Unglazed and fired at a low heat. The ground is slowly watered by capillary action. Plant roots seek out the moisture and eventually wrap around the Olla.

How far out from the olla does the moisture reach? Does 1 of them work for that whole bed?

They recommend planting 18" from center, which is about 1’ from the outer rim of the olla. Here’s a spec for four tomatoes from the site I linked to:

One olla for a 4’x4’ bed should suffice.

That’s impressive.

More questions: how often do you fill them? Is that the only source of water for your tomatoes?

So far I’ve been topping them off every 2-3 days. They could probably go a week without needing to be filled in the current weather. Still doing some overhead watering while the Summer plants get established and as I harvest out the cool season crops. Some folks put drip systems on their ollas. Lots of homemade designs and modifications on youtube to be found. I’m partial to well engineered systems and processes and am willing to pay the designer/vendor for said items. I have three ollas installed right now as a trial.

nice opening…beats the homemade ones.

How much did you pay apiece?

They can get pretty pricey on Amazon, I paid about $25 apiece. Took a little drive to Ojai for mine.

Just learned about these, surprisingly. Any update on using these over the years?

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Sill going strong after all these years. I’m not really sure what could go wrong with them to be honest if you keep them filled and in the ground. Maybe a super hard freeze might crack them, but places with hard freezes probably wouldn’t use olla pots.


Good to hear they worked. Were they the only water source for these beds during your summer or did you continue the overhead or others?

I was considering trying them here, but would probably have to dig them up before the ground freezes every winter.

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homemade ones? I’ve looked at these a lot and they’re so expensive


I’m in central ohio so we get some relatively cold weather. I’m also curious if you use these in raised beds as your only watering method. If it works with your heat and won’t crack due to freezing for me when empty, I’d love to try it because you can’t get much easier and low tech than this. I’ll probably try it in my raised beds anyways in the coming season. Considering modifying mine with funnels to catch rainwater when I remember.

Do you use any in ground for trees/bushes etc?

For the most part they are the only source of water. I do let the hose run for a bit during hotter times so that the water spills out into the bed. Once the plants are well established the roots will encircle the pot and will draw water as needed.

Not homemade. Hard to calculate the return on investment in terms of money and time saved over many years. Do not buy them if you think they cost too much.

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I use them in raised beds only – as that is how I grow in ground. I do not use them for permaculture or bushes. I would probably dig them up before a hard freeze.

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maybe I’ll try to make a few from Terra Cotta pots, just enough for the paw paw patch. those like the wet!

I would probably use deep watering spikes on permaculture applications. An excellent use for gray water:

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