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Month: August, 2012

A New Olla for Indoors!

I’ve been thinking about a few things as we’ve been getting ready to go back to school. It’s my hope that at least some of the people who are trying out ollas will comment here on the blog and pass along their experiences. The first ollas that I buried in the Community Garden failed to support onions. I think the onions were placed too far from the olla. I also put several ollas into a fresh, raised bed that I made out of a stock tank. That bed is still immature and I’ve used both surface irrigation and olla irrigation on that one. It made its first cucumbers a week ago. I put another small olla into a 4-5 gallon container, seen below, and raised zennias in it. It’s had that same potting soil in it for 3-4 years and it’s doing OK, not exceptional; just OK.

Having said all of that, I thought of how I might use the ollas indoors since winter is close at hand. I was cleaning up in my office, moving some ‘old’ pots around when I came across a Chip-N-Dip that I made as a demonstration piece last Spring. That’s when the idea of making a table top, olla planter hit me!

It’s really just a scaled down version of a key-hole garden. Perhaps it would be good for growing an herb garden for the kitchen? Or maybe I should add some lugs to the rim so I could pass rope through it and use it as a hanging garden for indoor use during the winter!

This design affords me the opportunity to galze the bowl part while leaving the olla part unglazed. Or, if I change to a nicer, red clay, perhaps they could be left natural. Hmmm….

 

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DSC01246

Here is the prototype of a one piece ‘olla planter’. It will have a lid just like the others. Notice the neck of the olla being higher than the rim of the bowl; just as if it were a traditional olla buried in the garden.

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DSC01245

This is a small Chip-N-Dip. We made a few of them in the advanced ceramics class last Spring. One student brought Mexican food every night so we made some appropriate pots to go with the food. You put salsa in the bowl and spread the chips around the outside. The pot is wheel thrown in one piece! This one is unglazed.

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DSC01193

I’ve had zennias in this pot all summer, watered by the olla. The plants are now about 14″-16″ tall. They’ve had only olla irrigation since they germinated 6-8 weeks ago! This pot is filled with a really poor potting soil; not much substance to it.

It was 160 Degrees in the Garden Yesterday!

   OK it was actually 160 degrees in the pile of fresh grass clippings that the grounds crew at Wayland delivered to the garden. I took a digital kitchen thermometer to the garden yesterday morning to see what kind of heat the pile was generating. I was shocked to find out that it was that hot! We had two dump trucks bring in grass that was fresh cut and had a rain shower on it. Then it rained a bit the following morning and evening! What luck. It ought to break down fairly quick.

   You can just see the base of the pile to the left of the compost bin. I reported the temperature to the head of the Math/Science dept and he related how, when he was growing up, several dairy barns burned down because they put up wet hay! So, I got out the pitch fork and moved the pile away from combustibles.

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DSC01240

This is our compost bin, made from recycled pallets. I layered dry grass, fresh cut grass, manure, and oversized ( sliced with a hoe) squash and zuchhini to build the pile. I wet each layer down as I built and tossed in 2 hand fulls of organic fertilizer on each layer.
The temperature of the pile at an 8″ depth was 144 degrees F yesterday morning, 8/11.

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DSC01238

We planted radishes and turnips in the Wayland Community Garden this past week. The grass clippings are laid down on top of cardboard. This is the space where we spread plastic in March to solarize the weeds. It worked fine until a month ago and the plastic started splitting. We used some thin drop cloth plastic from the hardware store. Next time we’ll use thicker stuff.

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DSC01243

The new garden space is coming along nicely! You can’t tell but the yellow squash is blooming. Yesterday I planted lettuce, carrots, and turnips into the skips where the beets didn’t germinate. The last time I grew carrots was in ’94 or maybe ’95.
Now that it’s cooled off to only 98 degrees during the day, it’s also cooled off to under 75 at night so hopefully our crops will set some fruit!

It was 107 degrees in the garden!

   We set a record of 107 degrees this past Thursday. It was a good thing that I had watered the garden just two days prior to that insane heat!

   Well, here it is a few days later and I’m watering it again. Can you tell the difference between the photo below and the one dated July 27? It won’t be long before you can’t see the furrows in the new space! I wish my pepper patch was doing as well as this space. The soil here is much better than the caliche rock pile at the home place.

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DSC01232

Here’s a shot of the new space looking to the north. It’s about 7 or 8 days after the last photo of the same space.