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Homemade "Ollas" - the Brunson Farms way

Ara at My Edible Yard discussed using Ollas for irrigation. 


We were intrigued.  We do a lot of watering, especially in the summer.  Tomatoes are thirsty.


Tim did the research and found that we could buy them, but they were a bit pricey.  $20 or more each.  Yikes.  We starting counting up how many we would need.  Double yikes.  We have six 8x4 raised beds, and too many pots to count.


In one of the comments at Ara's site, someone mentioned re-using plastic water bottles.  Poking small pin holes in them, and then burying them like you would an olla.  Now, we don't get water in plastic bottles at home, but I *do* have them at work.  And work has a nice little recycling bin for all those plastic bottles.  Ripe for the picking.


I scavenged all that I could from work.  I searched the pantry for anything in a plastic bottle.  I rifled through all the cupboards.  I emptied out the vegetable oil into a mason jar.  There went the honey into a mason jar.  Tim used the last of the vinegar and gave me the container.


I put six in the bed with the snap peas.





I put one each in two strawberry pots.  And nine more in various other pots.  I still have to scavenge enough for five more raised beds.


I can't wait to see if this will make a difference in the size/quality of the veggies (especially the tomatoes).  If it does, maybe we'll spring for the real ones.


Stay tuned.




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Comment by Matthew Fallon on March 4, 2011 at 4:50pm

ive been looking at olla-style irrigation a lot lately .

you'll want to cover the top so things dont breed in there (mosquitos etc) .

i like the idea of clay pot with saucer!. i saw another using 2 pots glued rim to rim,

wetpots is a type thats sold online,but they were like $170 for a little kit!

i'm leaning to using a 4+ rain-barrels on a drip system and zero-pressure water timer(Holman has one for $40-ish) or maybe just right into ollas. or a combo of both?


thanks for sharing!


Comment by Matthew Fallon on March 4, 2011 at 8:27pm

Hi Judy, here is teh page i found that idea on



wow that's some deal. i ought to check around here for such finds.i need Pots!... err.plant pots. lol.

Comment by Kris Boggs on March 5, 2011 at 7:38am
So informative! Thank you very much. I will be using a combination of both plastic bottles, gallon milk jugs & the clay pots. Watering is my BIGGEST issue. Its a practice I HATE. Takes HOURS & HOURS out of time that I could doing other things. I even have the cool little irrigation water kit...I will  be utilizing it this year! Thanks again!
Comment by Matthew Fallon on March 5, 2011 at 9:38am
Comment by Lauren Klouda on March 8, 2011 at 9:01pm

Those links Matthew are awesome! I saw the the ollas for the first time on a site who's name will remain nameless. Anyway, I thought it was a neat idea but was NOT going to spend $20.00 on anything that I stuck in the ground. My cheap budget does not allow for expenses like that and the whole point of growing food is to save money. Plus, I would need a bunch. I still debate about setting up a "drip line" but I think my husband will really like Matthew's clay pot system (the link he provided). 

I have loads of creamer jugs, milk, and baby water jugs that I have been saving for about two years to use as mini "glass cloche" or similar to... I will definitely be giving this a try with my hundreds of plastic jugs I have collected. Thank you!!! Great idea. 

Comment by Shawn Booth on March 25, 2012 at 8:46pm

Not hating here, I am just surprised anyone who grows their own food would use plastic at all...

Sans the plastic "plugs" suggested in the following link, here is a cheaper (better than plastic water container) alternative:


Comment by Shawn Booth on March 25, 2012 at 8:48pm

Sorry Matthew, I didn't see your link:


Same idea I posted. Thanks for the info.


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