The Olla Bed

About a year ago I built an Olla bed. For those of you not familiar olla are a low tech unglazed earthen ware containers used to provide water directly to the roots of a plant.

A much better article than I could ever write is found at

http://permaculturenews.org/2010/09/16/ollas-unglazed-clay-pots-for-garden-irrigation/

With summer just around the corner (despite the sudden cold snap) I thought I had better give a report on how it is doing.

My Olla are not so pretty being made of some old clay pipe I had access to and some pot bases. I Sanded them to remove any glaze and used silicon to bind it all together. Over the last summer they lasted really well requiring a single fill up of the three olla to last the week.

I also incorporated a mini worm farm into the bed that helps to keep up the worms in the beds and compost it.

As you can see the beds are thriving. Last summer almost all of our salad vegetables came from this one bath tub. I was sick and tired of plastic packets of salad vegetables costing me a fortune and going bad after about two days.

The bed requires very little work to keep the plants maintained and as you are feeding directly to the roots of the plant the amount of weeds has been very minimal. I have used seedlings for the most part planting them around the Olla and this seems to work best for me, the developed roots seem to find the water without much trouble. Direct seeds seem to go the way of the weeds and not do as well.

This year I will be adding some herbs and more leafy greens to the mix and seeing how much I can push the system and how long the reservoirs will last with the bed fully loaded.

In the next week or two I will drop a post on the build process I went through.

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