Learn to make ollas, more in water workshop for gardeners

Learn to build berms, micro-swales and ollas at a free water workshop Sunday

As spring nears, it’s vital that gardeners start to anticipate their water needs over the next few seasons. The Los Angeles Community Garden Council is sponsoring free public water workshops at community gardens and farmers markets. 

On Sunday, starting at 10 a.m., the workshop comes to Elysian Valley Community Garden. 

Topics to be covered include uses of mulch, micro-swales and berms for raised beds, and DIY ollas -- what some consider the most efficient irrigation system in the world.

Ollas are unglazed, low-fired clay pots. Buried in the ground they will weep water through the porous surface into the surrounding adjacent soil. They are commonly used in arid zones of Mexico, especially in containers. Ideally they are flat-bottomed and narrow-necked and can deliver moisture into an area three times their circumference. Smaller ollas, 4 to 6 inches, are suitable for containers; larger pots can do similar service in the ground.

They can also be expensive. The workshop set for Sunday, conducted by Monica Curiel, a consultant working for the L.A. Community Garden Council, is to cover how to make your own ollas from inexpensive 4-inch flower pots sealed together with silicon. She will also explain how to maintain the pots and deal with calcification that may impede porosity.

The water workshop is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday at 1816 Blake Ave., Los Angeles, 90039.

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