Ollas

It’s coming into Summer and I’ve been trying to work out how to minimize the time I spend watering especially on hot days. It takes me about an hour to water half the garden. Big Eucalypts raid any water supply their roots can reach so my fruit trees and vegetables are almost all in pots. I didn’t want lengths of irrigation pipe visible but that’s what I now have, I’m trying Ollas.

Mine are home-made and not pretty but they’re to be buried so as long as they work I’ll be happy.

I used silicone intended for use in aquariums because I was confident that wouldn’t contain any dangerous chemicals. I was generous with it because I wanted it to fill any little gaps.

The unglazed terracotta pots are quite rough around the holes and need to be smoothed down to avoid leaks.

Sandpaper works well.

 

I used a small tile inside the pot to cover the hole in the base.

I put extra silicone on the base.

After sanding two pots were glued together, only the bottom one has the hole covered.

The top holes needed to be widened to allow a Top-hat grommet to be fitted. The grommet ensures a good seal.

A Top-hat grommet

A section of pipe is inserted into the grommet if the pot will be well below the feeder line.

This pot has a barbed T poly fitting inserted directly into the grommet.

Barrel reservoir raised to allow for gravity feeding of the water.

The water container is food grade.

Slope made the task trickier.

The feeder line delivers water to each submerged clay pot.

These pots needed a piece of pipe from the grommet to reach the feeder pipe. The last pot in this line only has an elbow fitting. A venting tube is at the end of the row of pots in the background.

A smaller setup with only four pots fed from a small water container. The clear venting pipe in the last pot shows there is water in the system.

 

 

 

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Christmas in July

Last year I saw a post showing a delightful “Christmas Cactus” AKA Zygocactus. Mine is flowering now so I figure it must be one of those “Christmas in July” events.

Christmas-in-July

Bottle Garden

In January 2015 I was inspired to start a bottle garden after seeing this post by Woodland Gnome. I decided to go with a closed system because it’s a constant reminder of how our earth operates. Last week I was thrilled to see a little flower blooming in the mini-world.

The ecosystem in January 2015

The ecosystem in January 2015

 

bottle2

The first flower opened in February 2016

I think the difference in leaf colour is due to flash being used in the second photo but I’ll do some research on fertilizing in a closed system in case something is missing in the soil.

Mosaic Butterfly

mosaic-butterfly

Once again I had trouble with the adhesive I mixed so I won’t use it again. I was a little disappointed that the green glass beads don’t reflect as nicely as the others but I’m satisfied that I’m learning more with each mosaic I make. This one is hanging at the back of the fern garden for now.

Wicking Box Tomatoes

I’ve proved this year how great Wicking Boxes are for me, I don’t need to go out in stifling heat and water the plants every day. We have so many tomatoes I’m giving them away but now I’m thinking of getting rid of the boxes I’ve made. It’s very disappointing after all the effort and the fact they work so well but during our recent heat wave I realized that if a fire did come here the polystyrene boxes would create an inferno of their own. I’ve thought about alternatives and decided after this season I’ll make our half wine barrels into wicking beds, they should be well insulated like the polystyrene without being so flammable. It’s a daunting prospect, having to remove the soil that’s in them and line the casks etc but I’ll see how I go. One at a time.