Sage Urban Farm
Gardening has always been in my life. I remember gardening with my mother as a small child. The thing I remember most vividly is the taste of fresh food. Wild strawberries so sweet they glistened. Cranberries picked in the fall coolness, their tartness stimulating a mouth-watering effect.
Today, my garden is an experiment in community building. From the pollinator gardens to the now mature food forest that provides food for our family and beyond. All the pieces are a perfect fit for the life we envisioned. Once a month we open our gates to our community to stroll through the gardens ask questions, check out the new pottery and enjoy some wood fired goodies from the garden to the oven. The bees are always happy to entertain as are Lily and Comfrey our furry compost makers!
Ollas are the place where our clay and garden intersect.
Ollas are an ancient irrigation system originating in Northern Africa with evidence of use in China for over 4000 years. They are still used in many countries today.
Ollas may be the most efficient method of plant irrigation in drylands known to humanity due to the mircoporous (unglazed) walls that do not allow water to flow freely from the pot, but guides water seepage from it in the direction where the suction develops. When buried neck deep into the ground, filled with water, and crops planted adjacent to it, the clay pot effects sub surface irrigation as water oozes out of it due to the suction force which attracts water molecules to the plant roots.
The suction forces are created by soil moisture tension and or plant roots themselves. Plant roots only pull water as needed never wasting a drop of water.
Ollas virtually eliminate runoff and evaporation common in modern irrigation systems, allowing the plants to absorb 100% of the water.
Thanks to the Permaculture Research Institute for this great description of how the Olla works.