• Home Home

Gardener shares ancient method to keep plants hydrated amid scorching temperatures: 'My plants are still nice and moist'

"It's really easy passive watering."

"It's really easy passive watering."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Gardening is a great way to get outside, help support your local ecosystem, reduce your plastic consumption, and improve your diet and mental health all at the same time. But keeping your plants watered can be a challenge, especially in extreme heat or if you ever leave home for a trip.

To deal with that issue, one TikToker is drawing everyone's attention to an ancient watering technique called an olla — and it couldn't be simpler.

@elliesurbangarden Heat wave? My plants are still nice and moist. How about yours? #plants #planttok #garden #gardening #tomato #flowers #olla #water #watering #farm #homestead #growyourownfood ♬ original sound - ElliesUrbanGarden

The scoop

Ollas (Spanish for "pots") are an "in ground watering system used by Indigenous peoples for years and years," explained ElliesUrbanGarden (@elliesurbangarden). By using an olla, Ellie said, "my plants are still nice and moist" even in 90 degree heat.

The process of making an olla is extremely simple. You just take a terracotta clay pot (that is not painted on the outside), attach a coin of some kind to the drainage hole with silicone glue, and bury it in the dirt. 

Then you fill it up with water and use the bottom catch as a lid to prevent evaporation. Over time, the water leeches out into the surrounding soil, giving the plant roots the sustenance they need over a period of several days.

"It's really easy passive watering," Ellie concluded.

How it's helping

According to gardening blog The Cottage Peach, implementing an olla can reduce your waste water by 70% and only costs around $5 for the clay pot (plus one penny to block the drainage hole).

The appeal is also in the simplicity.

"Personally, I struggle with bending down and kneeling in the garden to water and weed because of my arthritis," the author wrote. "... I needed to choose an irrigation system that would ease some of the physical demands of gardening and allow me to continue growing all the fruits and vegetables I could without hurting myself."

🗣️ If you have a lawn, what aspect of it do you value most?

🔘 The way it looks 🤩

🔘 The way my family uses it 👪

🔘 It's enjoyable to mow 😎

🔘 It's cheap to maintain 💰

🗳️ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

More broadly, growing your own fruits and vegetables is good for both you and the environment. One pound of transported produce creates 0.18 pounds of planet-overheating carbon pollution, which means that growing 300 pounds of your food can eliminate more than 50 pounds of air pollution per year.

What everyone's saying

Ellie's followers were excited to try the trick for themselves.

"Ummmm this is amazing. I'm trying this," wrote one commenter.

"Awesome! I'll have to try this!" wrote another. "I work all day and live in the desert so this will be great to keep everything watered! Thanks for the tip!!"

Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider