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Gardening expert demonstrates ancient method to keep plants perfectly hydrated: 'The best way to water your garden'

"That's genius."

"That's genius."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Growing plants in soil is a practice as old as the Earth itself — and even in 2024, sometimes the ancient ways are best when it comes to keeping plants healthy and hydrated.

One TikToker showed one such method using submerged clay pots to keep plants watered for days at a time.

The scoop

TikTok account The Cottage Peach (@thecottagepeach) posted a video explaining how to use ollas, or terracotta pots full of water buried in soil. Using ollas is an ancient technique that's been documented for thousands of years.

@thecottagepeach The concept of using ollas in the garden goes back thousands of years and has been used in countless cultures around the world. An olla garden watering system is basically any type of unglazed clay pot that is buried beneath the soil and filled with water. These are the best way to water your garden the lazy way + save water! #olla #ollapot #oya #ollas #wateringplants #watering ♬ Marigold - Lo'fi Boy

"Terracotta is porous, so if we bury it in the garden, as the soil dries out, it's going to pull moisture from the inside of the pot to the outside," she demonstrates. "The water comes out of tiny holes in the clay and is pulled through the soil by the roots of your thirsty plants."

"You usually only need one pot every two feet or so, and you can DIY it or get a system that refills itself automatically from captured rainwater," she explains.

How it's helping

There are multiple benefits to using a submerged clay pot; namely, it's easier and less labor-intensive than watering plants by hand every day. Using ollas also minimizes surface irrigation, which reduces weed growth.

Also, as she points out, because the plants absorb water as necessary, "soil will never become overwatered either. Plus it eliminates wasted water lost to surface evaporation and encourages plants to develop stronger root systems."

"Love it," one commenter enthused.

Some traditional ollas are made from narrow-necked containers in order to minimize surface evaporation; another option, as she shows in the video, is to cover the pots with a tray with pebbles. (As a bonus, this acts as a water catcher for bees and other beneficial insects.)

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Another commenter had tried the method with success, writing, "I did this to my veggies in the ground!"

Using ollas to grow your own food is an amazing way to save money and eat healthier — not to mention help reduce your own negative environmental impact. People who grow their own food can save an average of $600 a year, limiting their contributions to the heavily polluting parts of the industrial agricultural industry, including transportation.

Homegrown food also offers more nutrients. One study showed reconstituted orange juice lost nearly 50% of its Vitamin C during the study period. Not only is fresh food healthier, but the very act of gardening has been shown to improve mental health.

What people are saying

Commenters were impressed and eager to try the olla method. "Need it for my garden," one wrote.

"That's genius," another said. 

"Very creative, nice work!" one agreed.

In short, the video concludes in the caption that ollas "are the best way to water your garden the lazy way + save water!"

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