February 4, 2019
The olla best serves a plant with a deeper root system. (See Water Conservation page on Ollas.) We decided peas would be a good choice.
The plants can teach us so much. We dig up some of the roots to assess for health and to measure length.
We got a surprise in October when we pulled out the cucumbers and peppers that were planted near an olla. Carefully, we used the hori hori and excavated around the base of the olla to see which plants took advantage of the water. A small fig tree, planted about 10 feet from the olla, had wrapped its roots tightly around the brown water vessel. And Nancy wondered why her little fig didn’t need any water during the dry months!
Now we know that root pruning is another task for the winter to-do list. Check your own garden bed sites to see if any plants may be robbing water from your edibles.
Last week, three of us heard our State Climatologist Nick Bond speak. Nick is still delivering the same message; in general, western Washington is in for dryer summers and wetter winters. In addition to being water efficient, the more water we can collect during the winter the more we will have in the summer.
We are lucky to have our cisterns and, if we had one more, we could make it through the summer. Last year we used our 4,000 gallons from our cisterns plus 1,300 from the City water supply.
We will continue to explore ways to increase water efficiency. Check out the recent addition to the Perforated Pipe Page.