Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Comparing DIY Ollas to the Real Deal

A while back, I learned about something called an olla, and let me tell you, I was enthralled. Ollas are unglazed clay earthenware pots that you bury in your garden. They save a significant amount of water over other watering methods (even drip irrigation, which I had always heard was the ultimate water-saving method), because you bury ollas below the surface of the soil. Rather than watering above ground, the water seeps through the clay pot below ground, and the roots of the plant get the water there. In other words--no water evaporation in the air. Also, you can't over water--the plants take what they need and no more.

As you can imagine, I just had to try it. So I searched high and low all over the Phoenix area looking for these magic urns. I found one at Summer Winds nursery, which my husband quickly picked up for me.

I hear that some women ask their husbands for jewelry

Since the olla was both pricey ($34) and hard to find, I thought it would be worthwhile to also look into creating some of my own. I had seen quite a few tutorials online on how to make your own ollas. I thought it would be a good idea to try it out, and compare the results of the DIY version to the one I had just purchased.


The "real deal" vs. a DIY olla. Like twins, huh?

So I buried both of these in the ground a couple of feet away from each other a few weeks ago and planted black eyed peas around them. Next, I hand watered the seeds until they sprouted and grew an inch or so. Then, I watered them exclusively using the ollas. Here's how they look today: 

DIY olla

The "real deal" olla

As you can see from the pictures, the leaves on the plants around the DIY are quite a bit crispier. I've noticed that this olla takes a lot less water than the "real deal." I assume that's because it was not fired at a lower temperature like the genuine article.

I guess that means that when it comes time to get more ollas, I will be shelling out the dough for the real thing.


Noelle Johnson said...

Hi Claudette,

I have been wanting to create my own after seeing the prices of the ollas at Summerwinds. They are certainly pretty, aren't they?

Now, maybe I'll ask for one or two instead of a pair of earrings this Christmas....

Love reading your blog!


claudette said...

I love reading YOUR blog. I learn so much from you! :)