For information on Olla’s Water Conservation System, follow the link below.
Dripping Springs Ollas Website link
Dripping Springs Ollas Facebook link
Last year a friend in Charlottesville (Mark Williams) gave me a clay Olla to try in my container garden, on my 6×10 foot deck at my apartment. At the time it was my sincere intention to write about the Olla and how it worked in a series of posts throughout the season, however I really wanted to get a sense of how it worked and what it took to keep it up, for one season before posting so that I could give a sincere and honest opinion.
Here we are the second year for the Olla, and I am ready to write a series of posts. I will say here and now I have no connection with the sell of Ollas, at all, just being someone that loves gardening and knowing that I needed to be efficient with water where I am, and that I am thankful to Mark Williams for giving me this one to try out as I do love to experiment. I really had no doubt in my mind that the Olla did do what they said it would as I have grown African Violets before and done the wick watering/feeding method before that is an outstanding way to assure African Violets always have what they need, when they need it.
What is an Olla? it is a spherical clay vessel, with a shot neck and clay lid that covers the water, the vessel acts much as a cistern does, to store water until it is needed, in the case of the Olla, it emits water through the clay much like wick watering does as the soil and the roots of the plants surrounding it requires the water it slowly weeps releasing the water to be taken up by the plants. As you can tell from experience that during cloudy and rainy periods very little water left the Olla staying full for days, so it does not constantly saturate the ground surrounding it, only as soil and plant requirements dictate.
As you will see in my pictures, from this year and last my Olla was not planted fully in the container and it still worked wonders, this year I will be adding more soil to the bottom of the neck, I did not last year not knowing how well it would work and thinking if I need to bucket water that the soil should be lower than the top of the container so that it would not run over, however this year I am thoroughly satisfied that the Olla works wonders.
Last year I had planted a Cherry Red Mandevilla vine in the container and two Moonflower vines and two Cardinal vines as well as a two geraniums (OVER KILL) not for the Olla, but the vines grew so prolifically that they took over and the two geraniums succumbed to not light. The Olla passed with flying colors as far as growing vines of decent size in a smallish container does not always work well or the vines are stunted, these vines took over climbing all around the deck rail and the moonflower vine covered the end of my deck and all the way up and covered my upstairs neighbors deck rails. (as the name implies- this is a night blooming vine, blooms open once it is dark)
This year that container will have Cardinal Vine, Heavenly Blue Morning Glory and Salvia Guaranitica, this salvia is vastly different from the varieties that smell like cat pee. This variety blooms above the foliage with with dark or medium Cobalt Blue tubular flowers, if you love Hummingbirds and want a flower for them to wine and dine on then plant these around your garden, they absolutely love them! I am planning on planting at least two, as to my astonishment there are about 60 apartments with decks like mine and I am the only person that plants any flowers so was absolutely shocked when I counted 8 Hummingbirds flying around my geraniums and vines everyday! The manager of the apartments asked me if I knew what the other tenants refer to your deck as? NO WHAT? a Jungle? No EDEN! LOL
I have gotten off the Olla track now but will post more posts on this wonderful water conserving vessel, personally if I could have more I would. One day I would love to try it in a garden setting in the ground, as I believe tomatoes would be prolific with them as well as for me personally my David Austin Roses.
More posts to come.