Home Blog Easy Irrigation Olla

Easy Simple Irrigation

By Heirloom Ridge | Blog | 16 Mar 2020 |

What is an Olla

An Olla is an ancient form of low tech irrigation dating back to the time of the Ancient Egyptians and Ancient Romans. Olla’s are still used today in countries many such as India and Brazil and have even been called 'the most efficient irrigation system in the world' by Bill Mollison, who along with David Holmgren developed the concept of permaculture. 

An OLLA is simply a porous jug that can hold water which is buried in soil. When filled with water the water will slowly leech out of the Olla and into the surrounding soil allowing for the water to be wicked away and used by nearby plantings

This method of watering has many advantages
1) Low tech and simple to set up
2 ) Low evaporation
3) Water is delivered direct to the root zone of the plants, encouraging deeper root growth which is known to make plants more drought tolerant.

While their are several Olla’s on the market they can be a little expensive, especially if you have several garden beds or pots to keep well watered......

Their is an inexpensive and simple DIY version I have been using for a couple of years and it have been a game changer over the hot summer months we have in Sydney Australia

Take 2 Terracotta pots with the same diameter top.

I picked up these two 16cm pots from a local hardware store for just $2 each

You will also need some silicon, I used one that is designed for use on masonry and guttering. This cost me less than $7 and will make 8-10 Ollas..

You will also need a rock or pebble or broken piece of terracotta pot. This will be used to plug up the hole of 1 of the pots. Only do this for 1 pot at the hole in the other will become the opening you use to fill your Olla.

Now simply run a bead of silicon around the top of  your first pot and carefully place the other pot upside down and gently press together. Don’t apply too much pressure here, the weight of the pot should be enough.


At this point you could just let it dry, it will work perfectly or you can choose to clean up the joint by taking a piece of paper towel, spraying with some window cleaner and wiping around the joint to wipe off any excess silicon

Now check the instructions on your silicon for the drying time, I left mine for 24 hours before burying it in my garden.

Your Done......One simple easy and cheap DIY Olla!!

This Olla can hold a little over 3 liters of water and depending on the weather conditions will last from 1-5 days.

TIP: Once you have finished using your silicon if you screw a screw into the top of the tip your tube of silicon will stay sealed until your next project!

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