Summer can be a deal-breaker when it comes to growing moisture loving seedlings and plants. Unless you have a reticulated drip-irrigation system –which I don’t have, you need to water the veggies quite often to expect a decent harvest. Often that means those fragile seedlings get damping off problems or mildew when you sprinkle water over them.
For centuries dry-climate gardeners have made unglazed clay pots for irrigation. They’re called Ollas. Modern manufacturers still make them but the price of each can be quite prohibitive if your garden on a shoe-string or have a large patch.
These clay pots provide a slow release of water underground. As the roots grow, they wrap around the pot allowing the plant to take almost all the water. If the surrounding ground is well mulched, then evaporation is greatly limited.
I collect from op shops unglazed clay wine coolers that I bury up to their rim into my garden beds and add water for slow release. I then plant the seedlings around them and voilà!
Now, bees and other insects can drown in that water body so you’re best capping the top of these clay pots with a saucer, or put a stick in them so they have a chance to climb out.
Each cost me up to $5 each, and can be reused almost indefinitely.
PS: find me at Dooralong Produce Swap when Music in the Park is on the 2nd Sunday of each month and bring your produce (or clay pots!) to swap!
It is not too late to register to Garden to Table’s Residential Permaculture Course held with John Champagne, Megan Cooke and myself in Pacific Palms, NSW – 19 November to 1 December 2016