VIDEO: Building a New Autofill Olla Watering System From Thirsty Earth

VIDEO: Building a New Autofill Olla Watering System From Thirsty Earth

Mli From "Garden Wise Adventures" reviews the Thirsty Earth Ollas Watering System

Watch as Mli from “Garden Wise Adventures” shows you how to save water AND grow bigger veggies. Mli teaches about gardening, edible landscaping, design, and many other landscape topics.

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Video Transcription:

Welcome to Garden Wise Adventures. My name is Mli. Today is another beautiful day. It is the beginning of June, and I wanted to take you along a project that I've been doing now, yesterday's project, 

I'll link up above was to install a new raised metal bed, and it's a company that I'm an affiliate with. 

Now behind me you can see that I have raised metal beds. Those are raised metal beds. I'll put a link down below where you can go and check those out. If you order through that link, I do get a little bit of a kickback. 

So this next product I'm not affiliated with at all, it's just a product that I found at a home show. I thought it was amazing. I absolutely fell in love with it, and I paid full price to install it into my beds, and I think it'd be easiest to just kind of show you what it is instead of trying to describe it.

Now, if you followed my videos at all in the past, you would know that I install drip irrigation that's connected to my automatic sprinkler system in every single bed. You can kind of see it poking through the mulch there. Every single bed has a shutoff valve. 

This bed also has it so I can turn my irrigation on or off for each bed. So when I saw this product right here, I'll show you the cups, what they look like. This is from Thirsty Earth. These are ollas. 

Now, I've done a video in the past with Chris and Darrell and Darrell created his own olla. Now those ollas are do it yourself. You go purchase all the parts and pieces and put it together yourself. And I will put a link down below to what he does because it's a lot cheaper and it works just as well.

I think I absolutely love the way Daryl has done that and he has made his instructions free on the internet for you. Now, this one is not free. It's very expensive. I'll link the website down below so you can go check it out. 

It comes with everything you need and videos on how to put it together. Now, it did take a little bit of time because I have 29 cups that I have put into these beds. So we have nine in here. I probably should have a 10th, but nine will be just fine for that bed. I have eight in here, which is the recommended number.

I have seven in here, which is one less than the recommended number. These are two by eight beds. And then I have five in here, which is also the recommended number. Now let me show you how to put them together. It wasn't hard. It was just a little bit time consuming with the vast numbers that I've done. 

So the first important thing is this cup, it's a terracotta cup. It is specially made so that it weeps water out of it. So when you put water in here, the soil around the cup will create. I am not technical. I don't know exactly how it works, but it's going to create enough pressure that it pulls the water out of the cup. 

You bury it in the dirt and you put these lids on it. And let me show you kind of how they go together. So you have the lid. It's important to make these watertight. There's this little screw right here, and then you have a three inch long quarter inch poly tube. Now the kit comes with all of this and the video explains it really carefully exactly why it works and how to put it together. So I'm not going to go through as carefully as the video did, but basically what you do is you put, so this has a hole in it. You put the poly tube with the, make sure there's no dirt on it with the washer. This is just kind of a rubber washer that goes on the bottom. Make sure that's on the bottom. Pull the poly tube up so it's up high enough. And then what I like is they use these quick connect. They use these quick connect connectors. Now these are really easy to use.

This little blue part right here pushes down, and when you push it down, that's the release. If you don't push it down and you push the tube all the way in and you try to pull it out, it doesn't come out. But if you push the quick connect down and then pull the tube, it releases. So this makes it reusable, which other systems would not make it reusable. So then what you do is you take the lid to your cup, you screw this in here, don't screw it all the way down because we're going to do something a little bit later that I'm going to show you. And then this has, oh, I can't remember what this is called. It's been a very long day, but this seals the lid on the cup. So you push this onto the cup, you use the little plastic thing to hold it in, that holds it all together, and then you bury the cup. I have another one here that I've already put together again, so we're going to make sure there's no dirt in the cup. We're going to push the lid right down on there, seal it so that it doesn't come apart.

And there we have our cup. And then in the video, it describes the distance you should have around them, but it seems like the plume of moisture around these cups is about 18 inches. So maybe a foot to a foot and a half is what they were saying. Having them a foot to a foot and a half apart is usually the best. Now they gave me, this is the one thing that they give me because I bought so much, but this is like a power planter and it doesn't make it any easier. Let me just tell you that. Let me show you why. So go down, pull it up, and then my soil is so soft, all the dirt settles back in the hole, but that's okay. It's just as easy to dig in my soil with my little T trail. You've got to dig it deep enough. So everything except for the lid is buried. You want the lid showing and the rest of it buried. So that makes the lid even with the soil. So we're just going to fill it back in, tamping it down. You don't need to be too careful with this process.

And now we'll bury this other one right here. There we go again, soil level.

Okay, now all our cups are buried. Let me show you how we hook them together because we are going to hook them to an automatic water. And let me show you that. So this is the automatic water that I already have set up. It's connected to two beds. We've got it connected to all of those cups, and then it goes down and it actually has enough water pressure and it pushed all the water into these caps. And we're going to show you how that works. Now in a little bit, what we're going to do is we're going to actually show you how to connect this to your automatic watering system. You can connect it to a hose, you can connect it directly to a hose bib, and you can connect it to your automatic watering system. They have all the parts necessary to do whatever you need to do with it. And this is what the inside looks like. So right back here, I don't know if you could see it right there is where you connect your automatic watering system. You have a float valve here. When it gets full enough, it shuts the water off. So my automatic watering system goes on three times a week, and that should be plenty to keep this full. As soon as that float hits the top, it will shut it off and not allow any more water in.

They said these watering systems, I think with eight cups will last about a week as long as you don't have any leaks. And I installed this and waited to check to see if we have any leaks. You can tell if you have leaks because the water will go down a lot faster than you expected. This is the same level as it was before. My soil was pretty saturated, so I didn't expect it to go down very much. So let's show you how we set these up to that automatic watering system over there. We'll show you all of it. Now, I've hooked up all the oils down this side, this bed, and the one in the center that we were just working on are the ones that are going to be connected together. But what we're going to do is cut this hose so that it's going to be long enough, long enough to attach to the automatic watering system. Cut it straight. The straits have to be clean and straight. We're just going to hook it in here already. And then what we're going to do is cut a approximately three inch length of hose right here.

We're going to insert it. This is another quick connect. So now it's stuck, but you also have the release valve right there if you want to release it. Now this side is all connected. What I want to do with the other side is I'm going to run the tube along the beds along the ground so I don't trip on it and then connect it to the other bed. So we've pushed the tube in, so it's well seated. We've got some garden staples that are going to hold the hose down and string it right along this bed. Staple it down here. So we've got the hose connected down here. It doesn't have to be perfect. It's just so I don't trip on it. And then it's coming up in the bed, and let's show you how we put that together. Now in every bed, I figured out what will be the end. This is going to be the end instead of a three-way t, it's just got one hole to plug it into so it doesn't run out the other side. So I take my scissors. We're going to start with this one right here. We cut it off

The right length and we cut it straight so that it will seat nicely and just plug it in there. So that works. Now we're going to plug it into the next one. Nice and straight. Make sure it's round, plug it in, plug in the next one.

So that's how easy it is to connect the system. Now this bed and that bed are connected together, and they'll be watered by that automatic watering system. Now the paes need to have the top of the water, not the bottom of the pail, but the top of the water to be anywhere from two to five feet above the level of the cups. Now, the higher the pail is, the stronger the flow of water will be. The higher the PSI, they say, it's not rated for any more than I think five feet high because it will not work with the system correctly after that. So if you notice that your plants aren't getting enough water, then you can raise the height of the tub and that'll give it a higher pressure. So now what we're going to do is we're going to fill that tub full of water, and I'm going to show you how to bleed the air out of the system because if you don't bleed the air out of the system, it would take about a week to fill all of the cups. So let's show you how we do that. So I'm just going to use a watering jug first. It has just enough water to fill this. I think.

Now this jug had the perfect amount of water. You can see how the float valve is floating on the top. It actually is shed off the ability for it to receive more water from the automatic part outside. So this is as full as you need to have your jug of water. Now what we're going to do is see how fast we can fill up each of the cups. It's a slow process. We may not finish today, but at least you'll see how we do it. And then I'm going to show you how to connect it to the automatic watering system on the other side. So the first thing that we do is we make sure that our caps are loose, and if they're loose, once these jugs are filled with water, it will start to pour out the top and then we tighten down the seal. So we're just going to make sure everyone is loose enough. I already loosened all those, I think. Let me make sure these are loose enough. Yep, I think they're all loose.

I can hear the water pouring down in there. So while we're waiting for the water to fill, let me show you the parts that are necessary to attach it to your regular drip system. It can go into any of your perforated lines. It can go into a solid line. It just works with your drip irrigation. The only thing that I did not get with the kit was this. This is a barbed fitting, a barbed connector for my pipe. It connects to a quarter inch tubing, which is what they gave us. This is a hole punch so that I can punch a hole in my irrigation pipe. And this right here is the fitting that goes on the back right here. So we're just going to screw that on, screwed on pretty tight. And then notice this blue fitting right here. We're going to take that ring off because this is also a quick connect. This ring is the part that makes it a quick connect. Okay, we'll put that fitting right there because we don't want to lose that. What we're going to do is take our irrigation tube over there and connect it to here. So we're going to connect the poly tube in there

And put the little blue thing back on, and now it's tight. It's not coming out. Make sure that's tight. Next thing we're going to do is we're going to go find where we're going to connect this to my irrigation line. Now this right here is a live irrigation line. I don't know if you can see that. This is what feeds my garden bed. So what I'm going to do is cut this line right here, the length that I want it. Next thing I'm going to do is I'm going to connect it to my little irrigation fitting so I don't lose it. So it's going, sometimes these are hard to push in. Okay, so we've got that connected to the irrigation line. Next, we're going to punch a hole in the irrigation pipe where we want the fitting to go in. Then we're just going to attach it. And lastly, we stapled it down so I don't trip. Now let's go check our cups and see if any are overflowing yet. So if you can look right here, you can see water coming out. So that means this cup is full. So what we do is we just tighten that down, just hand tight, and then the water will flow through to the next cap. Let's check this side.

We've got water coming through already, so we're going to tighten this down.

There we go. So that's it. Now I've got OS that are connected to my automatic irrigation system, and we're going to see how well they do. I will definitely take you along and show you how the plants do. All of the rest of my automatic irrigation is turned off to these beds. So this will be a fair trial. We'll see if the OS are able to water the plants efficiently, and I'm really excited to see how they do. But anyway, I hope this video is helpful to you. If it has been helpful, I hope you like, subscribe, share it with your friends, and go have a wonderful garden adventure.