Midwest Permaculture

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I recently taught a class on Olla Irrigation at the Ann Arbor Reskilling Festival, and have had a few questions coming in regarding my ongoing project. The attached file has a synopsis of what I've learned to date. Feel free to give me your feedback.

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Thomas, thanks for posting this. Good article. I also think the Reskilling Festival is a great idea! I was looking at the Ann Arbor site and it looks like it would be a blast to do in our town here also!


Thank-you. I did not know there was such a simple irrigation system. I beleive I have the equipment including the 55gl barrels. Just have not been able to figure how to put it together. I will still need to have someone else cut the tops open and go from there. I can use the litter bucket recycleing also.


Just a thought on those plastic 55 gallon drums. If you invert the drum  and put it up on blocks you can use one of the existing bung hole fittings for to install a shutoff valve/hose bib. A 4" hole can be cut in the edge of the top using a hole saw, jig saw, or keyhole saw and then covered with a bit of screen for the filter. Route the downspout to the inside edge of the hole and the excess debris will get washed out over the outside edge of the drum.

Thank you, also tks for the sketch. Do you use sketch-up program?             This I can do without help. I have everything I need. At the History Center we will be planting trees, the Olla info may be part of it. I am certainly going to add clay pots to my wish list for our upcoming newsletter.

I tend to use the drawing tools in Microsoft Word to create and assemble the basic shapes, and SnagIt to capture the image and create a JPEG file.

One note about using ollas with trees: There are some mentions on the Web of the possibility of the more woody tree roots actually cracking the the pots. My guess is that this would not be a problem for the first few years and could be easily remedied later by replacing the olla.

I've posted a new YouTube video describing my olla irrigation system improvements to date.

Olla Irrigation - One Year Later

Here is a link to the latest update on my olla irrigation project. The colder winter this year brought about a few successes and failures. This video covers the good stuff. I'll focus on the problems areas in another video.Overwintered Ollas Video


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