Ollas (pots in the ground)

Essentials of an Olla
Essentials of an Olla

What is an Olla?

An ‘Olla’ is an unglazed ceramic pot, usually terracotta that allows water to slowly permeate through its walls and out into the soil.

They are usually placed in the garden in between a couple of plants so that more than pone plant can benefit from the moisture. You can use them on individual plants too, of course.

How to use an Olla

Installing an Olla is very simple. When I used them, I preferred to put them in next to new plants where their roots would go. They also work well in new garden beds.

Just dig a hole where you want the pot to go and put the pot in the hole, backfilling the hole around the pot and compressing the soil a little. Fill the Olla with water and put a lid on it. That’s all. After a short time, your Olla will have moistened the soil around itself.

Ollas only moisten the soil a short distance from their sides. You’ll probably need a few in your garden but you can be sure that you’ll be using the same technique as generations of traditional Mexican farmers. That’s not a bad thing, is it?

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