Water-wise gardening: DIY clay pot irrigation | SA Garden and Home
TEXT JANE GRIFFITHS PHOTOGRAPHS JANE GRIFFITHS AND KEITH KNOWLTON
Last updated on 14 February 2018

Make every drop count with this ancient method of irrigating plants. This involves using unglazed clay jars called ollas that are sunk into the ground.

Traditionally they have a bulbous body with a neck sticking protruding from the ground for refilling. Water seeps out slowly and plants’ roots grow towards, and eventually around it, absorbing moisture as and when they need it.

READ MORE: How to create a waterwise garden

diy clay pot irrigation

HOMEMADE OLLA

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Two identical unglazed terracotta pots, 20–25cm in diameter
  • Silicone sealing gun
  • Plastic lid to seal the drainage hole
  • Funnel
  • Rag or cork

diy clay pot irrigation

HOW TO DO IT

  1. Seal the drainage hole on one of the pots by sticking the plastic lid over it using silicon.
  2. Glue the rims of the two pots together with silicone. Leave to dry and test if it’s watertight by filling with water. If it isn’t, dry and seal leaks.
  3. Bury the olla in the centre of a bed, with the sealed side down and the top rim just above ground. One 20–25cm olla will water approximately one square metre.
  4. Fill with water using the funnel. Close the hole with a rag or cork to prevent mosquitoes breeding and soil from falling into the pot.
  5. Check the water level by pushing a stick into the olla until it touches the bottom. The wet line indicates the water level.

READ MORE: DIY drip irrigation system

 

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