Gardening is all the rage these days, and it’s thriving even in densely-populated areas where urban farmers have little more than a balcony or a porch to grow those herbs or tomatoes.
But going from seed to seedling to thriving vine is not always easy. First of all, there is that pesky task of watering — most plants tend to grow better with an intense weekly watering instead of a frequent quick sprinkling of water. Of course, most of us work long days outside the home, and then there is that annoying issue of remembering to water your little garden in the first place. Then there are the watering restrictions in many communities as the majority of states here in the U.S. are either mired in, or heading toward, long-term problems due to drought.
A timeless design, however, is one water-efficiency answer to the question of how to keep that garden growing while maintaining a busy schedule and, of course, doing all of this sustainably.
GrowOya is the venture of three gardening aficionados who wanted to find an easy yet responsible way to keep gardens blooming and producing. Their terra cotta pots are based on ollas (“OY-yas”), a method of irrigation that has long been used in the Americas and has since spread across the globe.
The bulb-shaped pots are buried in gardening plots near the base-roots of plants. A narrow opening, which reduces evaporation, is exposed at ground level and only needs to be filled with water every five to 10 days. Because the pots are slightly porous, water seeps out slowly. The plant roots in one’s garden will gravitate toward the submerged pots within a few weeks, and will draw out water only when needed. Capping the spout with a rock or small tile reduces evaporation even further.
The results, say GrowOya’s founders, is a low-tech yet highly efficient watering system that is 70 percent more effective than surface watering. They can work in planters, raised beds and, of course, larger backyard and community gardens.
Plenty of artisans and small businesses make ollas, and for DIY enthusiasts, cobbling together one’s own collection of ollas is a fairly easy task. GrowOya’s founders, however, tinkered with their design and manufacturing process to make their pots even more efficient. For now these ollas, or “oyas” if that is easier to pronounce, are available for purchase within the U.S. and Canada on GrowOya’s website. Available in three different sizes, their costs start at $25.
Image credit: GrowOya