4 Reasons Why I'm Getting Crazy Growth In My Garden Using Thirsty Earth Ollas
Jason Ross made the switch to a Thirsty Earth Olla Watering System. Here's his 30 day update on how it's going...
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Hey y'all. This is Jason Ross, co-author of the Black Autumn Series of Survival Preparedness, homesteading Fiction. I'm also the head screenwriter of the upcoming Homestead Black Autumn Television Show. We are so stoked.
One of the things I'm doing as a writer is to really focus in on research. And I've been researching as many of you know, the Thirsty Earth Olla system. It's like a dry land farming widget or hack. So I'm here in Hawaii at my winter home in Hawaii where I get to garden all winter long. I know you're jealous.
And I'm now 30 days into this little experiment where I put three Thirsty Earth Ollas in my 30x30 sweet potato bin to see how it really does. So, as you can see, if you know sweet potatoes, it's ridiculous.
This is like insane. I've never had sweet potatoes get so tall and so lush.
It's just answers the question: What happens if you give your sweet potatoes all the water they could possibly want 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with absolutely zero waste?
And the answer is they go bananas.
I mean, this is 30 days of sweet potato growth. I'll show you. Like, I got like this whole crazy dreadlock thing going on over here. It's just spilling over onto the ground and it's just crazy with growth.
I cannot wait to get in there and see what the taters are doing underneath the ground.
So I gotta ask why?
I'm putting way less water into this bin and I was appropriately watering before, but I'm putting way, way less water like, 1/30th the amount of water into this bin and I'm getting like 2-3X more growth.
What in the heck is going on here? A couple things I'm suspecting, I'd like to talk about. Let me take a guess.
Here's my guess why these little Thirsty Earth Ollas in her, just 3 of them, are creating such a phenomenal ridiculous amount of growth.
REASON #1: The perfect amount of water 24 hours a day. What I was doing before was running drip. I had a drip line in here and it was running just in the morning. So then the sun would beat down on these guys and really hammer 'em all day long.
They get water and they begin the drying out process. So they got water just once a day. I could have bumped it up to twice a day, but it's really the same cycle. Too much water, too little water, too much water, too little water.
What the Thirsty Earth Olla does is provides the perfect amount of water all day long, all night long. So it's just a perfect amount of water and it's not subjecting the plant to any water stress. Seems like a winning hack.
REASON #2: Secondly, it has to do with fertilizer. What I've done in the past is let 'em get this big and then add fertilizer on top. I pour it straight onto the mulch.
What I've done with the Thirsty Earth System is taken what is 100% natural verma compost tea fertilizer that I made myself with my handy dandy little worm farms...
And I pour it straight into the reservoir. So it goes into the Thirsty Earth reservoir. I dump like a jar full of this great fertilizer and it infiltrates through the ollas. And what I've seen from my past is that the roots will surround those ollas and pull every molecule of water and now every molecule of fertilizer through the olla straight into the plant. So zero loss.
So no longer am I just pumping water through my drip lines and then it's just going right out the bottom. Because every time it got water, there was a huge amount of water that came out the bottom of the pot. We've all seen that.
Now there's zero water. The bottom of the pot is completely dry. And that fertilizer, instead of being a leached out by daily watering is just being uptaken by the plant.
You see how tall these guys are growing and they're just spilling over the side? So I can only imagine that the sweet potatoes are getting it, too. They're gonna be in great shape. I'll let it go another month or two and harvest.
So reason number two: Perfect amount of fertilizer. No fertilizer leaching. None of my fertilizer is going out and out to my lawn. It's all staying in the pot and being uptaken right away by the roots of the sweet potato.
REASON #3: This one totally shocked me. Reason number three that I'm getting crazy success off the Thirsty Earth vs drip is because the Thirsty Earth System attracts the snails that were already hiding in my pot. And I could look in there anytime night or day and just see if there was a snail on the olla. I just pick the snails off the Thirsty Earth ollas and chuck them cuz they're no longer hiding around in my mulch where the moisture is. They go to the maximum moisture and which happens to be my ollas.
And then I just picked them out and thrown 'em away. Now I don't get a lot of snails, but just a couple of big snails. We have giant snails here do an amazing amount of damage. So rather than like competing with snails constantly, that whole problem resolved itself.
REASON #4: Fourth is the problem of predation from the outside, the Thirsty Earth system is keeping the plant so healthy that it is resisting the the cabbage moss and the aphids that will typically get on it and do damage and slow the plant down.
So I'm totally kicking butt on predatory insects in this bin because the plants are so healthy.
They've got no water stress, 24 hour a day, perfect amount of water. Those are my best guesses. Perfect amount of water, perfect amount of fertilizer delivered directly to the roots through the ollas. And also I've been able to completely avoid the normal problems.
I'll show you my other bin, my 30x30 same setup, planted exactly the same time. I'll show you how that's doing. You'll see it's not nearly as good. It's experienced water stress, it's experienced predation.
Okay, so here's my other yard where I've got some great growth going there in a couple of my other beds.
There is my other sweet potato planted exactly the same time you're seeing. It's got a drip line in there, it's got some predation. You can see where it's been chewed on cuz I don't know where the darn snails are hiding. So anyway, that's not horrible for 30 day growth, right? Uh, not terrible, but certainly nothing like this guy. Look at this.
It's just insane. It's like, like trying to commit suicide by growth. Look at this. I'm gonna have to do something about this cuz it's growing all over my yard. Anyway, we're probably 30 days out and we'll go ahead and harvest. When sweet potatoes start showing aging on the leaves, I know I'm probably 30 days out from harvest.