Olla Irrigation

Keep your plants hydrated this summer with this 10-minute DIY!

We saw this olla irrigation idea on Pinterest and loved it. An ‘olla’ is a traditional watering pot made of unglazed terracotta. It has a long neck through which it is filled, and you bury it in your garden near plants that need regular watering. You fill it with water, the water slowly seeps out of the porous pot, and the roots of your plants grow towards it. Fill it when it’s empty. It’s that simple. Even more simple is making this olla irrigation yourself!

Tip: Place a dowel in the drainage hole of the little pot. This acts as a handle and also to keep debris from falling through the hole. The little pot is a lid for the drainage hole of the top large pot, but you could also use another cork.

How to make your olla irrigation

Step 1: Place the cork in the drainage hole of one of the big pots. (You can use anything to block the drainage hole, as long as it’s waterproof.) Silicone around the cork to make doubly sure the pot is waterproof.

Step 2: Place a line of silicone around the rim of the pot.

Step 3: Place the second, same-sized pot on top of the first pot, but upside down.

Step 4: Smooth the silicone around the joined rims and leave to dry for 24 hours.

Step 5: Dig a hole near the plants you want to water and bury the ‘olla’ until only a few centimetres are showing above the soil.

Step 6: Fill the olla through the drainage hole of the top pot and cover with the lid. Every few days you can check the water level with a dowel or feel if the inside of the pots is still moist.

The Gardener