Earth-friendly solutions for organic gardeners.

End of Summer Sale: Ollas 15% Off!

End of Summer Sale: Ollas 15% Off!

It will be raining soon, but if you want the best deal on foolproof clay irrigation pots, buy them before October 30th!

2-Gallon Irrigation Pot

1-Quart Irrigation Pot

Clay Irrigation Pot for garden Irrigation for flower pots
Perfect for a 4′ x 4′ garden bed. Designed for flower pots and planters up to 24″ wide.
Normally $40, right now only $36! Normally $24, right now only $21.00

Call now to check our inventory and make an appointment to pick up your Ollas, your garden will thank you.

503-752-8450, ask for Luisa

Here are my top 10 (really 11) reasons for using Ollas (a.k.a. clay irrigation pots) to water my flowers and veggies.

  1. Use Less Water.
    In Olla irrigation, your plants get watered at the root, so no water is lost to evaporation. Ollas can save 30% to 70% of the water typically used to grow garden plants, like tomatoes, beans and flowers. Here’s some pictorial proof that Ollas really work!
  2. Do Less Work
    Ollas can liberate you from having to water every day. In fact, I’ve personally found that my Ollas need to be filled only every 3 to 5 days…depending on weather and soil type. I like to say that your Ollas will water your plants so you don’t have to.
  3. Save Money
    Here in Portland, where gardeners often complain about high water bills during the dry summer season, Ollas can reduce water usage, and in turn lower water bills. Here’s a great map showing relative water rates across the U.S., the Pacific Northwest really does have some of the highest water rates in the country.
  4. Healthier Plants
    Ollas water at the root level. And healthier roots translates to healthier plants. I’ve also found that having a water reservoir right there, ready to release water whenever the plants need it means that lettuces don’t bolt as quickly and root vegetables are less prone to cracking. In addition, watering at the root means I’m not getting the leaves wet, which in turn reduces the amount of mildew on vegetables like Zucchini.
  5. Non-toxic
    Ollas are made of 100% natural Tecate clay, and they contain no paint or glaze. Ollas are free from the BPA found in plastics.
  6. Easy to Install
    If you can dig a hole you can install an Olla. I have a tendency to reconfigure my garden beds. I can pull an existing Olla out of the ground in about 5 minutes, and install it in a new spot within 15 minutes. Now I will admit that my garden soil is “dig-able”, but I’ve helped a number of people put Ollas into their gardens and they have all been amazed at how easy it is.
  7. Low maintenance
    Ollas have no moving parts, so they are virtually maintenance free. With a drip system there are lots of potential points of failure; the timers can break, the batteries can lose their charge, the hose might leak or the emitters might clog. Ollas aren’t susceptible  to any of those problems. But be warned: If you live in an area that regularly gets hard freezes you may want to lift your Ollas from the ground prior to winter. It’s not hard to do (see item #6.)
  8. Fewer Weeds
    I actually had a hard time believing this claim when I first started using Ollas. But it’s true! When you use an Olla to water at the root level (no top watering please), the topsoil dries out. With the soil surface dry, weeds don’t have a chance to germinate. You’ll still have to pull the larger weeds that have root systems, but the weeds hiding in your soil as seeds won’t have a chance to return to your garden.
  9. Fertilize 
    You can add an organic liquid fertilizer directly to an Olla to slowly feed the surrounding plants. Be sure that the fertilizer truly is a liquid, because you don’t want any particulate matter to clog the porous clay.
  10. Rainwater Collection
    Ollas use water efficiently. So that stash of rainwater you collected in the rainy season might actually last you through the long, hot summer.
  11. Water When You Want To
    There are so many rules when it comes to watering your garden. Here are just a few…Don’t water at night, because it encourages mildew…Don’t water just before a rain event, because it wastes water…Don’t under water your plants…Don’t over water your plants. Ollas get rid of all of those problems. You can water at night, because when you fill an Olla you won’t get the leaves wet. You can water just before a rain event, because if the ground is wet, the Olla won’t release the water it holds. And as long as you are using the Olla, it is almost impossible to under water or over water your plants, because the plants themselves determine when the Ollas will release water.

Call now to check our inventory and make an appointment to pick up your Ollas, your garden will thank you.

503-752-8450, ask for Luisa

Community and Resilience in the Garden

Community and Resilience in the Garden

Just a few days ago, I spent a bright, sunny summer afternoon with Marisha Auerbach in her garden. A brief introduction is in order: Marisha is a teacher who shares her knowledge of plants and permaculture design with…well, with just about anyone willing to learn. Visit her Website, Permculturerising.com, and you’ll see what I mean.… Continue Reading

Gardening is For the Bees: An Interview with Pollinator Parkways

Gardening is For the Bees: An Interview with Pollinator Parkways

Recently, I had the pleasure of walking through the Montavilla neighborhood with Sherrie Pelsma of Pollinator Parkways. For anyone who hasn’t heard of Sherrie’s group, Pollinator Parkways is dedicated to supporting our pollinating friends, specifically native bees, by creating a sustainable urban habitat. Sherrie tells me that the idea of Pollinator Parkways came to her, literally,… Continue Reading

Spring Sale: 20% Off 2-Gallon Ollas!

Spring Sale: 20% Off 2-Gallon Ollas!

Here in the Pacific Northwest it’s almost time to start gardening. The sun is peeking out today, and the ground is warming (and drying) up. That’s good news for anyone who wants to grow their own vegetables or nurture the bees. Here at Plug and Play Gardens, we’re doing our part by offering our 2-gallon Olla… Continue Reading

Win This Book: Gardening with Less Water

Win This Book: Gardening with Less Water

I’d like to introduce you to David Bainbridge. David has been involved in desert restoration and sustainable agriculture projects for more than 30 years. Back in the 1980’s he was working at The Drylands Research Institute at the University of California, Riverside when he stumbled across a reference to clay pot irrigation. Here’s the intriguing part… Continue Reading

Ollas at the Mother Earth News Fair

Ollas at the Mother Earth News Fair

I will be at the Mother Earth News Fair in a few weeks, talking about Ollas (and selling them too!). For those of you who don’t know about the Mother Earth News Fair…it’s an amazing garden/homesteading show where you can learn about sustainable practices for your home and garden. Whether you are interested in growing organic… Continue Reading

Potting Up a 1-Quart Olla

Potting Up a 1-Quart Olla

Here’s a picture of a 1-quart Olla from Dripping Springs. It’s sitting in the middle of a 14″ pot. The is a great picture for a number of different reasons.First, it gives you a good idea of how well this new smaller Olla fits in an ordinary garden pot. And second, it shows you how… Continue Reading

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