Episode-1167- Lori and Jeff Haynes on Olla Irrigation — 31 Comments

  1. Great show full of great ideas!
    One the reasons I love your show is the fact that you have a conversation with the guests and it evolves into ideas that neither of you had thought about…It was why I loved Art Bell so much he didn’t just ask questions.

    Thanks for all you do!

  2. Great episode. These two are fantastic examples of ingenuity, work ethic and resourcefulness. Thanks for including them on your program!

  3. Awesome information, especially for those of us who live down here in Texas with Jack! By the way, here’s a Wikipedia page that refers to the Pot-in-Pot Refrigerator” (Zeer in Arabic; Matki or Matka in Hindi-Urdu). This is what Lori was talking about for cooling water or keeping foodstuffs, right? This has given me “irrigation” ideas even for my apartment-patio-garden 🙂

  4. Can someone post the name of the phone app Jack mentioned that helps you trace sun angles? I tried to make a mental note of it since I was driving, but old age is catching up to me quickly. Many thanks!

  5. One idea that came to mind after listening to todays show is perhaps even integrating a grey water system to fill the ollas. This would help conserve even more water for people off the grid or not. A great resource by a guy here in montana is

  6. I think this would go very well with the “Postage Stamp Orchard” that I heard someone mention on a back episode. Six dewarf fruit trees for a little over $50.00. Awesome!

  7. Great show, I remember seeing ollas featured in one of the Bill Mollison videos. (I think it was the Urban/City portion of the Global Gardener series) I do not believe a name was given for them but I have wanted to find some ever since. Now I can. Thanks!

  8. Keeping things from drying out is such a big problem for us in Central Texas.

    So, We picked up four last Saturday. I’ll let you know how they work!

  9. I just send emails or FB messages to at least 8 nurseries in my area asking them to carry their products! I hope someone brings them to my area!

  10. Couple of (late, as usual) comments –
    First, the idea of using an olla with a newly planted tree sounds promising, especially since it can be dug up and reused once the tree is established. But, would the tree’s roots would tend to encircle the olla, instead of spreading out in the surrounding area, much as would happen if it were planted in a compost-filled hole rather than back filled with native soil?

    Second, it was interesting that Jeff said that they used an Australian product for their rainwater tank – I’ve been googling around for information that I can use to upgrade my existing rainwater system, and I’ve found that the Aussies are way ahead of us in the US with respect to rainwater harvesting. In fact, that might be a good show topic!

    Heading out to Bloom in Dripping Springs this Saturday to pick up a couple of ollas for my fall herb bed … 🙂

  11. I haven’t been able to get through the entire show yet, so I’m not sure if this question is answer. Do you leave them in the ground all year or do you have to take the olla’s out of the ground during the winter freeze time?

  12. Do you think an olla would work well with woody beds? I don’t see why not, sounds like a winning combination.

    • While it would work as it would in any bed it would be largely necessary by the second or third year.

  13. I wonder why someone couldn’t make clay piping, fittings as well to make a network of pipes and small clay holding tanks under the ground. Could even use it in combination with plastic pipes where you don’t want water to seep out. Could have clay fittings and small reservoirs near important plants with plastic pipe in-between. Then just fill the pipe system with water. Other methods might include float valves to turn on and off water from rain barrel tanks to gravity flow into the pipe system.

    • Well DAMN IT LARRY! That is going to be in my head for a damn long time now. LOL

    • On this one where I said use a mechanical float valve, make sure the metals are rust proof. A student of mine says they use to use those and they rusted up every so often and had to be replaced. Also he said they went to a simpler system. They had a normal valve on a tank restricting the flow to a horizontal pipe. This pipe ran to their trough where it made a 90 degree bend with a fitting downwards towards and into the water almost to the bottom of the trough I think. Or at least to where they wanted the water level. They put a floating ball in the pipe so that it would float and stop the water flow. If the water level dropped it would allow water to pass by it by dropping a little until the water level was regained. He said the tank was open not closed up. I asked how that worked because it would look like to me the pressure would empty the tank. He said they restricted the flow from the tank with the valve to a trickle until it worked.

  14. I wonder if in a system like this if they would stop up like a sieve or filter, if your water was not very very pure that is. Maybe these pots need to be rinsed out sometimes.

    • Actually they did say (or maybe it was on their web site) that the ollas need to be dug up and cleaned every so often. Makes sense when you think about how an unglazed pot looks after it’s held the same plant for a few years.

      • Well I have a friend who uses a powerful water jet to clean out all kinds of industrial drains and sewage drains. Something like that or even a high pressure sprayer might clean out a pipe system like we talked about above. I think he pushes the spray head through the pipe’s he is cleaning at the time.

        • According to their web site, the ollas need to be removed from the ground and cleaned with a vineger/water solution. (See “How long will my olla last?” at I wonder if a water jet would have the same effect on deposits inside the pores of the clay walls.

  15. Also I was kindof wondering how lime/clay (roman cement) mix would work. Lime plasters are known to breath. Of course lime is alkaline which might change the PH (lower or higher I forget which).