Ollas for Watering Your Garden

Or: The sub-surface irrigation technological device

Ollas. Oi-Yahs. I know, I said, O-lahs, at first, too. But, that’s wrong.

The Spanish settlers brought the first ones to the Southwest, but let’s face it, the native American Indians had been using pots for years. And, that’s all it is. A pot. A porous, terracotta pot. You chose what you want to do with it.

I found this statement on Etsy: It is an emitter, that is buried under, or near a plant's root system. It makes an osmotic field, of moisture underground.

It's a buried porous pot that waters your plants. Nothing more. And they can be rather expensive depending on where you buy it and the size.
Time: 2 DaysCost: $5Difficulty: Easy
This is a picture of a real olla that's been professionally made. And following is a drawing showing you just how it works.
Look around your garden shed. All you need are two clay pots and some silicone.
I had these clay pots in my shed. They are perfect for a small olla.
If there are cracks in either of your pots, smear some silicone inside to seal the crack.

Inside one pot, plug the drainage hole. We used a good-sized glob of silicone and flat piece of broken tile.

Don't do this to both pots. You'll use the drainage hole in the other to fill it with water.
Squirt the silicone around the edge of one pot.

Invert the unsiliconed pot onto the siliconed pot...rim to rim.
Let dry overnight. This is going to be buried up to its neck. She doesn't have to be pretty.
Dig a hole in your garden near where you'll plant large enough to completely submerge your olla, leaving the open drainage hole end just above gound level. That oyster shell is to cover the opening after you've filled it with water.

For more details, including pros and cons, visit:

Suggested materials for this project:

  • Silicone  (Home Depot)
  • 2 clay pots

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  • A Crafty Mix - Michelle
    A Crafty Mix - Michelle South Africa
    on May 15, 2017

    I've never heard of a Olla before, but it makes so much sense. Thanks so much

    • Susan W Bosscawen
      Susan W Bosscawen Winnsboro, SC
      on May 15, 2017

      You're welcome and thank you for stopping by and writing! I used two old terra cotta pots, but you can use one pot and a saucer, too. Just seal the lid to the opening of the pot and use the drainage hole on the pot to pour in your water.