I may never end this journey but I think I am much closer. At least in regards to my container garden, on my small deck.
I found a company called Clayola. They make an Olla that can be connected to a reservoir, similar to a drip system. I have been looking for something that will be able to keep my plants watered for a length of time.
The olla used for irrigation is an unglazed ceramic pot. This gradually lets water seep into the surrounding soil as the plant pulls the moisture from the soil. This process minimizes water lost to evaporation or run off. This type of irrigation has been said to have been used by Egyptians, Romans and Greeks. I can not find anything that will actually date how far back humans have irrigated in this manner.
Here is a website that discusses the use of the olla in gardens in modern times. http://www.permaville.com/book/garden/
Finding pictures of how these are used; that I can use here is a bit difficult.
I have chosen to go with the Clayola company’s product because of the size. I have been using a similar product that I put a water bottle in. I also have 2 that use a cute little glass ball to hold the water. While this works it does not last more than a few days. So any vacations of any length are going to have dry periods.
I have taken some pictures from the amazon page and Facebook page for these. They do not seem to have a website other than these. I have found them reviewed on a number of gardening sites, even Martha Stewart. Facebook page Amazon page
I am approaching the use of these a little bit differently. The siphon method works very well, but I like to have it more gravity fed like my drip system was.
I purchased 12 of the ollas. So 2 boxes of 6 each. One of the boxes did not come with the siphon but starting a siphon without the little pump is easy to do. The piping is much more flexible than any of the drip pipes I have dealt with. It has a soft wall, verses the hard wall, or hard plastic of the drip lines from Rain Bird.
I have added a bit more soil to the pots so the ollas are completely covered. With no need to get at them to refill because of the lines I don’t see any reason to not have a light covering of soil over the top.
The only proposed change to this set up is going to be taking the bucket and putting it in the closet I have on the deck, and running the hose out to the plants. This will keep the water from being in the sun, and having some of it evaporate off. It will also keep the water cooler. I don’t think the temperature of the water is a big deal, but it can almost get warm enough for a bath out in the strong summer sun in California.
** Update : I went on a 7 day vacation and this system worked AWESOME. The plants used about 3 gallons of water during that time. Now The plants I have on this are water hungry plants. I have one Giant Redwood who is 6 feet tall. I have 2 China Doll plants that are both over 7 feet tall, and will need new homes if I don’t move by next year. And I have 2 post with multiple monstera deliciosa in them. I had another pot with a mystery plant in it, but for some reason that pot was pulling water to such a degree it was pooling under the pot. So I removed that one from the chain before going on vacation.