Thursday, May 28, 2015

Planting Ollas

First off: what's an olla?  (pronounced oh-la)

According to wikipedia, An olla is a ceramic jar, often unglazed, used for cooking stews or soups, for the storage of water or dry foods, or for other purposes. Ollas have a short wide neck and a wider belly, resembling beanpots or handis.

There you go.  It's a pot, basically, which in this case is used to water the garden in an efficient and water-saving way.  My friend Ken Keppers, a local potter in Turtle Lake, made three of them for me which is so exciting.  I took advantage of the cloudy and rainy weather we are having to go out into the hoophouse (which can get up to 150 degrees Farenheit on a sunny day, whoof!) to plant my pots in preparation for tomato planting.

First off, digging the planting hole:
It needs to be just deep enough for the pot to sit in with the neck above ground, and wide enough for the round pot to settle into place.  As you can see, they're a gorgeous unglazed pot, the perfect size for providing water to my three foot-by-four foot beds.
Then, backfill and gently press the dirt into place around the pot, leaving the neck exposed.  Add a little fresh garden compost, and it's a great home for happy tomatoes who love being watered at the roots.

Just a word to the wise: put a cover of some sort over the opening.  Otherwise, it becomes an unattractive slurry of slugs and bugs that fall into a watery death trap.  I'm sure it's nutritious, but it gets stinky in a hot space.
There, that's better.  No slug slurry for me!

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