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Worry-Free Watering
By Plow & Hearth
2/21/2013 2:39:00 PM

Automatic watering devices are a great way to save time and work when watering the garden, but you will need to consider the needs of your plants before you choose one. A standard sprinkler may work great for the lawn, but it won’t be beneficial for your vegetable garden. Choose a watering device that matches the needs of your garden and the time you have available to water. Here are some popular ones:



Sprinklers

Most people think of sprinklers first when it comes to automatically watering the lawn. They do save the work of manual watering, but keep in mind that they’re not always the most efficient devices when it comes to saving water - oscillating sprinklers can lose up to fifty percent of water they put out to evaporation and “drift.” They also don’t water evenly, since more water is put out close to the sprinkler itself. A way to avoid the latter problem is to move the sprinkler around at regular intervals to ensure even watering of the entire lawn.


Soaker Hoses

Soakers can be very effective for watering flowerbeds and vegetable gardens because they let water seep out slowly over the length of the hose. This means the plant leaves never become sodden, reducing the likelihood of rot and disease. The water goes straight to the root system and very little is lost to evaporation. Soaker hoses must be left on awhile in order to really soak the roots. Be aware of your soil type when determining how long you should let your soaker hose run.


Root Watering Systems

When used properly, root feeders can be very useful for keeping trees and shrubs hydrated. The key is to be sure to place them not too near the trunk not to set them too deeply into the soil. This is because the roots most efficient in water intake reside away from the trunk and within 12-18 inches of the surface of the soil. Unglazed, earthenware jars (like our Olla Ceramic Irrigation Containers, #55724/55725) offer a low-cost, efficient and easy way to water your plants around the clock.

Self-Watering Planters

Perfect for patios, porches, balconies or even inside the house, self-watering planters make container gardening even more low-maintenance – and give you one less thing to worry about when you go on vacation. Available in a wide variety of attractive sizes and styles, these smart containers not only save you work, they prevent over-watering, too.

When it comes to watering your lawn and garden, you’ll need to experiment to find the method that works best for you, your lifestyle, your chosen plants and your location. Use the above information to help you find the best way to keep your garden hydrated all summer long with a minimum of fuss and expense.



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The Olla: A Brief History

Olla (Spanish, pronounced “oh-ya”) jars have been around since ancient times. Made of unglazed ceramic, ollas traditionally have short, narrow necks with wider bodies, and are made in a variety of shapes. They have been used for thousands of years for cooking, storage, and plant irrigation.


When used to irrigate plants, an olla is buried neck-deep in the ground near a plant’s roots, with the opening of the olla extended above the soil so that it can be filled with water periodically. The porous walls of the unglazed pottery allow the water to seep through gradually, constantly and consistently hydrating the plants without overwatering them – and without wasting precious water to evaporation or runoff.


The use of ollas for irrigation was introduced to the American Southwest by Spanish conquistadors during Colonial times, becoming very common among Native American tribes and Hispanic settlers. Though the technique gave way to more modern methods of irrigation some time ago, its superior efficiency, coupled with its simplicity, has caused it to make a comeback. Though the technique has changed little since its introduction, today’s ollas are usually capped off, making them even more water-efficient.


Perfect for home gardens, Ollas are a super-easy, eco-friendly, less time-consuming way to water annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables and plants of all kinds in dry, sandy soil, very hot or drought-prone areas, raised beds, and even pots, planters and hanging baskets. Fill the olla before you leave on a short vacation to enjoy worry-free watering – and a smaller water bill!

How it Works:


Water is pulled directly through the terra-cotta!


Read more about Ollas on our blog.

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