For those customers who have been waiting patiently for their ollas, happy to say the wait is over!  We just got our latest shipment of ollas and will be packing and shipping them out this week.

I still can’t get over the simple beauty of these clay pots, they just look so lovely all together with the shadows playing off their curvaceous sides.

We’ve been using this simple, yet effective clay pot irrigation system throughout the garden and even making “self watering pots” for the last three or so years.  I have written many a blog post and shared many photos of how we go about using ollas in the garden.    In our observation we have found that the plants are healthier, less stressed which means less disease and extended growing season.

With the looming water crisis here in So Cal we feel that a little investment now will pay off in the future.   Now if only we had room for a load of clay and a kiln and we’d be in business!

Care to share your ollas “growing” observations, blog posts etc?

The buried clay pot or pitcher method of irrigation is one of the most efficient systems known and is ideal for gardeners and small farmers. Buried clay pot irrigation uses a buried, unglazed clay pot filled with water to provide controlled irrigation to plants as the water seeps out through the clay wall at a rate that is influenced by the plant’s water use.

This leads to very high efficiency–considerably better than drip irrigation and many times better than conventional surface irrigation.

When should you use clay pots?

Buried clay pot irrigation should be considered wherever water conservation is important. It will probably continue to prove most valuable for producing high value crops in dry lands. Buried clay pot irrigation is also valuable for food production and revegetation of areas affected by salinity or where only saline water is available for irrigation.

Buried clay pot irrigation is also valuable for gardening, landscaping, and growing plants in containers. It can be very effective for plants that are prone to diseases from over watering or wetting leaves by sprinkling. It could also be of commercial value for many situations encountered in landscaping, gardening, and plant propagation.

The Fan Sheng-chih Shu (the first agricultural science text book) describes the use of buried clay pot irrigation in China more than 2,000 years ago. It is likely buried clay pot irrigation had been used for many decades or centuries before this description was published. Current practices remain much the same.

—-writings courtesy of David A. Bainbridge


Pitcher irrigation: a water saving technique

Buried Clay Pot Irrigation


  1. Mary Hysong says:

    I am wondering if you notice a particular crop that benefits the most from the olla method? Since it would be difficult for me $wise to use this all over my garden I’m wondering which plants would give the most increase in yield with this method.

  2. becky wheeler says:

    OOPS!!! I didn’t see this site info until I sent my request to make ollas….This answers my question…I guess? Looks like you have it all done…. :o)

  3. leslie says:

    great idea! Please consider posting ways that these post can avoid becoming death traps for small animals like lizards and frogs. A simple mesh screen rubber banded over the top can save many little lives!

  4. Ana Quintanilla says:

    I was wondering where I could buy some clay pots like those, I am starting my own little urban gardening but I dont know where to get them here in the Bay Area Oakland.


  5. Liz says:

    Ditto to Ana…is there a retail outlet for the beauties in Tucson or Phoenix??

  6. Elin Kiraly says:

    Hi, just discovered this site today through a tip from a Norwegian website. What I am wondering (and I know this might be a long shot) is whether anyone here knows of some country closer to Norway selling these pots? I am trying to plan how my homestead garden might take shape from next year. Any tip will be appreciated.

    If not, maybe I can find a local ceramic to make me some, or order directly from here?

    Thank you for a great and inspiring site. I am looking forward to create my own garden here in Norway.

  7. Viktor says:

    Hi! Thank you for this great water-saving idea!
    My garden soil is very sandy and is on the verge of a hill, so the idea of using an olla is just what I need.
    But I have a few questions to ask – I live in Ukraine, and our winters are very frosty. I want to try to dig an olla under a young tree, won`t an olla break if it still will contain water in it during the winter period? and, in case it will be empty, won`t a cold air in it`s empty space freeze the roots of a tree?

    I will very appreciate your answer, thank you in advance.

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