Ollas is one of the oldest techniques that has been used for thousands and thousands of years. It is still being used now. It is an effective and efficient water saving method of watering a garden.
Ollas are unglazed clay pots that are buried in the soil of your garden. When you bury the ollas, leave the top few inches exposed so that you are able to fill with water. The pot is porous, allowing water to seep through and water the plants surrounding the buried pot.
How often you must refill the buried pot depends on the plants and how much water they are using. As mentioned, the olla’s walls are made of microporous fibers so they allow water out but it does not flow out freely. The only time the water seeps out of the olla is when the soil surrounded the pot is less saturated and becoming dry. If the surrounding soil is moist and saturated, no water will come out of the olla. The plant’s roots will absorb the water.
Using ollas for watering your garden saves water. You only use half of the amount of water as you would using a hose or watering can. When you water your garden from the surface, water is wasted by running off to where it is not needed.
Using ollas works better than drip irrigation. Water is still wasted using drip irrigation by evaporating.
If you cannot irrigate regularly, ollas is an easier method. It keeps weeds down and you can add plant food, or other nutrients into the olla. It saves you from over watering your plants as much as under watering.