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.