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building a new style of olla, will this work?  RSS feed

 
Gilbert Fritz
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Location: Denver, CO
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The problem with ollas is that they are expensive. Even the ones where two pots are glued together are fairly expensive. The smaller the pot, the cheaper it is. But a smaller pot holds less water, negating the point of an olla.

What if I used silicon cement to attach a cheap clay pot saucer, or a small clay pot, to the bottom of a recycled plastic five gallon bucket? That way I would get a lot of water storage, but still be able to gain the wicking benefits of clay without a large expenditure.


Also, we NEED a watering sub forum!
 
John Elliott
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Yes, by all means, think of ways to use plastic 5 gallon buckets, there are far too many of them going to the landfill. I would guess that a single new house being built generates a couple dozen 5 gallon buckets: there joint compound for drywall, paint, roofing glop, and many other things that come in 5 gallon buckets.

Don't think of the adhesive as making a hermetic seal with the bottom of the bucket, all you want to do is slow the water down so it is not gushing out a visible hole. I've drilled small holes in 2-liter soda bottles and then put in a 1/2" of our famous Georgia clay to slow the water down. It works. Almost too well. It takes a LONG time for the water to drain out. Once you put your cheap clay saucer on the bottom of the bucket, try sealing it with more clay (if you've got an easy place to dig it). I think with a little trial-and-error, you can make it work.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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I agree with John, any time we can reuse plastic, we must do it to keep it out of land fills.

As far as the high cost of pre-made Ollas;
If you can buy clay or dig your own, you could always make your own vessels.
Making your own allows you to shape them to your needs. All it takes is clay, rolled into a "rope" shape, coiled up and then worked into a monolithic form, smoothed with wet hands and if you like, decorate with your totems or designs.
Let the ollas dry for at least a week, two is even better.
Place them in a fire pit, on a bed of twigs and build a fire stack around them so the pots are inside the fire stack, light it and fire the pots the way the ancestors did.
 
Peter Ellis
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I don't think there's really a need for the clay at all. If you have an unglazed clay pot, then sure, use it, and the fact that water will pass through the walls is a great benefit. But if you are going to use plastic bottles or buckets (and as others have said, why not? Keep them out of landfills, give them a positive use, etc.) I think you can accomplish what is needed with some recycled cotton, like denim from old jeans, or worn out sheets.

I would fold up the fabric and make a pad in the bottom of a plastic bucket, with a number of small holes around the bottom edge of the bucket. The fabric would slow the flow rate and it would be another item pulled from the waste stream.
 
Charlie Gato
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:I agree with John, any time we can reuse plastic, we must do it to keep it out of land fills.

As far as the high cost of pre-made Ollas;
If you can buy clay or dig your own, you could always make your own vessels.
Making your own allows you to shape them to your needs. All it takes is clay, rolled into a "rope" shape, coiled up and then worked into a monolithic form, smoothed with wet hands and if you like, decorate with your totems or designs.
Let the ollas dry for at least a week, two is even better.
Place them in a fire pit, on a bed of twigs and build a fire stack around them so the pots are inside the fire stack, light it and fire the pots the way the ancestors did.


Thank you. Surprising these sell for $20-50 a piece here in USA
 
Dan Boone
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John Elliott wrote:Yes, by all means, think of ways to use plastic 5 gallon buckets, there are far too many of them going to the landfill.


I use them extensively in my container garden and tree nursery area. I get all I need (although not yet all I want) just by picking them up along the sides of the state highways around here where they have apparently bounced or blown out of pickup trucks.

However, when repurposing plastic items in the natural environment, it's important to remember that they do not last forever. Especially when exposed to sunshine and the elements, I find that plastic buckets start to break down in 2-3 years, sometimes faster, sometimes slower. Buried in my planting systems I'd expect a bit of longer life, but if not removed near the end of that life, eventually my soils would be full of plastic shards.

Thus, for me, any use I make of these buckets is temporary. I'm keeping them out of the landfill for awhile, but eventually they go back into my outbound waste stream because I prefer not to burn them. So at best I am practicing a form of plastic-waste sequestration.

 
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