Boating Adventures | "Amazing Olla Turns Brown Thumbs Green" by Vicki Totten

"There are two things my family and friends have discovered are particularly easy to make fun of me around. The first is my total lack of knowledge around contact sports. The second is my repeated gardening failures. I don't care enough about the first item to want to change it - but I am excited about discovering something that is helping turn around my gardening woes.

Inspired by the recent WWN article Candice Granger wrote about husband Jim Bob Salazar's ceramic Ollas, I purchased one. Well, actually I acquired it. Since my husband Stan Irvin is also a potter, I managed to finagle a pottery swap between my husband and Jim Bob. The Olla is buried near your plants and filled with water. The water then leaches into the soil and feeds the roots of the nearby plants. And as this photo shows, the Olla has been doing its job!

Since my husband and I live on our boat in Rockport part-time, it is challenging to keep a garden alive back in Austin. But thanks to my Olla, that is starting to change. Last year, the few vegetables that made it to maturity were eaten by squirrels before we could harvest them. So this year I decided to start with herbs to see if the Olla was really going to make a difference. When I am gone for a week, the first thing I do is head out to the garden to see if there is still water in the Olla. So far, even with the summer heat, I can be gone for a week and there is still some water left in the Olla and my plants don't look stressed at all. Maybe next year I will even try planting some vegetables again. And then, just maybe, my family and friends will have one less thing to make fun of me around. A girl can hope, can't she?" - Vicki Totten

"Thanks for the update Vicki! Here is the one I bought my Dad in Ohio for his birthday after I read Candice's article.

I hear they are having great results keeping these flowers properly hydrated when they are out of town, and apparently the flowers have grown closer to the olla (since this picture was taken) to absorb more water. Neat! What a cool invention! Thanks to you both!" - Alicia

Vicki and husband, ceramic artist Stan Irvin, are both retired professors who have discovered the joys of Rockport and living part-time on their 33' sailboat and are still working up the nerve to venture further out into the Gulf.

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