Unpacking the ollas
Ollas in the driveway
Going shopping – hmmm “does this one fit?”
The other day we received our spring shipment of ollas – so ya’ll who have been waiting for them we are shipping them out this week! Thanks for your patience.
For you local yokels, if know someone who is an avid gardener/homesteader and you need gift for Mother’s Day just click on the “local pick up” option after ordering (we are closed on Saturday but will be open on Sunday – Mother’s Day- for local pick ups)
Not only were we excited about getting the ollas to put more in our garden but we also do a bit of shopping. You see the ollas are packed in second hand clothes to keep them from breaking. After the ollas are unpacked we “recycle” the clothing – getting first dibs on “new” duds and the ones that don’t fit/aren’t our style we re-use them as packing material when sending the ollas out!
This time around we picked up a few sweaters and shirts… think the shirt that I am wearing in the pic came from the last olla shipment.
Pretty neat huh?
:: Resources ::
Make Your Own SWC (“self watering container”) Ollas in Containers (pics sent to us by another LA urban homesteader)
:: Recent Article ::
From Farm To Fork (Pasadena Weekly)
…In fact, the Dervaes’ have cut their watering bill to $600 annually, and they did it by reusing water, reducing water use and using old irrigation methods.
Rich soil is the key to having a bountiful garden and getting the most out of scarce water resources, which is why the Dervaes’ have mulched and composted their soil extensively. Over the years they’ve added so much natural fertilizer to their soil that they now have a foot and a half more soil than their next-door neighbors.
“We don’t waste anything and we have five composting areas around here. When you put the good soil [dirt with animal fertilizer] on the plants they immediately have a kind of insurance against water stress and drought because the soil’s good and the plants have good root systems because they go down,” said Dervaes.
To learn more about conserving water, Jules Dervaes and his family turned to the Internet. Researching old methods of irrigation, they found a system used in ancient China, Rome and Egypt and still used around the world to this day. The system is called “ollas,” the Spanish term for bottle or jar.
Ollas irrigation is based on burying unglazed clay jars in planters or garden beds, near produce, and filling the jars up with water. Unglazed clay pottery leeches moisture, making it a poor container for holding water for long periods of time. When the ollas are buried to the throat in soil, the jar loses water, dripping deep in the soil, near the roots of the plants. It acts as a constant drip irrigation system, but because water is below the surface, it’s not lost in the sun’s evaporating rays and the plants get only the water they need.
The family’s “computerized, automatic-timed waterer,” son Justin, also waters the garden beds by hand, using a watering wand and a hose, which means water is used appropriately where it’s most needed. Each type of plant is watered based on its needs and its size. This customized watering is much different than the sprinkler irrigation systems used in large commercial farms, where sprinklers shoot water over acres and water is lost to evaporation and scatter.
The Dervaes’ reuse their water as well. During the summer, family members use an outdoor shower shed and biodegradable soaps, so water is rinsed off into the ground, nourishing fig tree and sugarcane poles; clothing is washed in an Amish-style crank washbasin, water and biodegradable detergents siphoned off to water their avocado tree.