Monday, 6 April 2015

How to make a watersaving olla

by Nanna Chel @ Going Grey and Slightly Green

I first heard about Ollas when I was reading Tania's blog a while back and was quite intrigued by them and keen to make some. Tania had a link to The Suburban Farm where there is an easy step-by-step tutorial for making an Olla which apparently is pronounced oh-yah but I watched a couple of YouTube videos and the presenters seem to pronounce it more like oi-yah. Tania used Liquid Nails Ceramic to fill in the hole in the bottom pot and to glue both pots together but when I went to the hardware store there was none there so I asked what would be a suitable non- toxic glue which would do the job and the very helpful salesman spent some time going through the different glues and reading the labels and thought that the Silaflex-11FC should do the trick. It is drinking water safe as well as potable water safe.


I bought some unglazed 17cm terracotta pots, put a small flat rock in the drainage hole of one of the pots then glued it in so that it would create a waterproof seal. I had a bit of trouble managing the caulking gun so my husband had to come to the rescue. He put glue around the top of the second pot….

…and then glued both pots together. 


 To make sure it sealed properly he spread the glue around both openings. Then it was left to dry for 24 hours.


The next day I filled the Olla with water to make sure that no water was leaking out around the glue before putting each one in a bucket of water for a while as had been suggested in an online tutorial. They were then ready to be buried in the vegetable patch and holes were dug deep enough to put them in so that only the tops were sticking out. Once in the ground they were filled with water through the hole in the top and a small rock was put over the hole of each one to prevent soil from getting inside.


To prevent evaporation some people paint the top of their pots so I experimented with a couple of them. I can’t say for sure if this helped as I had a painted one in the same section of the garden as an unpainted Olla but I did notice that they really came into their own during the hot days we had in spring and summer and feel they are a valuable addition to the garden. Mine had been in the ground for eight months and when I dug them up this week while digging over the vegetable patch they were still in good nick so I moved them to another area.