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  • How do ollas work?
    Ollas are sub-surface irrigation devices. They are buried in the soil and filled with water. The walls of the olla are porous, and water "sweats" out through them into the surrounding earth. When the earth becomes damp, soil water tension decreases and the water stays in the pot. Plant roots grow around the pot and pull more water as it is needed.
  • Which plants flourish best when irrigated this way?
    The better a plant's roots can seek out water (hydrotropism) the better they are suited to this type of irrigation. So ollas work best with fibrous roots - beans, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuces, squash etc. They are less effective with tap-root plants such as carrots, parsnips, raddishes etc.
  • How many ollas do I need, and how far apart should I place them?"
    This depends to a large part on the "hydraulic conductivity" of the soil in your garden. A 20cm olla can irrigate approximately 20cm in every direction - a circle of 60cm in diameter - in some soils. In these circumstances a raised bed of 2m x 1m would require three ollas placed 40cm apart.
  • How often should I fill my ollas?
    Depending on the initial moisture level of the soil, you may have to fill the ollas several times when they are first buried. Thereafter it will depend on the demands of your plants. It's a trial-and-error process, but in general the pots will need to be filled every three or four days. They shouldn't be allowed to empty completely.
  • What are ollas made from?
    They are entirely ceramic, made from kiln-fired clay.
  • How durable is an olla?
    Ollas are about as strong as a terra cotta plant pot. They won't break if you walk over them when they're buried (unless you stand on the neck), but if you were to drop one onto a hard surface the pot would shatter.
  • If I break one, how do I dispose of it?"
    Ollas are non-toxic and don't contain plastic etc. Dispose of it in the same way as you would any ceramic item.
  • Do you sell items other than ollas?
    We are currently developing other irrigation devices using similar technology. Please sign up for our newsletter to be notified when new products become available.
  • Where are these products made?
    All products are hand-made in Waterloo, Ontario. When you purchase these products you are supporting the work of an independent artisan.
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