3 Ways to Make a DIY Self-Watering Gardening Beds System – Ollegardens website

3 Ways to Make a DIY Self-Watering Gardening Beds System

Gardening is a great hobby, but it can be hard to find the time to water your plants every day. An self-watering system is a great way to keep your garden beds watered even when you're away from home. We have three ways to make an olla system, all of which are fairly inexpensive and easy to make. You can even make a small olla for indoor houseplants.
raised garden bed
Method 1: Single-Pot Olla With Tray Top

This method uses a single pot with a cache tray. It's perfect for small- to mid-sized garden beds

Tools and Materials:
terra-cotta pot with tray
waterproof sealant
metal stamping blanks
garden trowel

1. Seal Drainage Hole
Apply waterproof sealant around the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. Put a little sealant around the perimeter of a stamping blank. Press stamping blank over the hole, making sure the sealant is adhering to the pot. Allow the sealant to dry.

2. Test the Pot
Pour water into the pot to make sure the drainage hole is not leaking. If it is leaking, apply more sealant around the metal blank inside the pot. You will see the porous pot become dark with moisture. This is how the water will seep out and slowly water the roots of a plant.

3. Bury the Pot
Dig a hole in the center of your garden or raised bed. Make it deep enough that the rim of the pot sits just above the soil line.

4. Fill Pot With Water
Fill the pot to the top with water. Cover the pot with a terra-cotta saucer to serve as a lid. Check the moisture level in the soil with a meter. Roots should be getting water after one day. Refill the pot as needed.
raised garden bed
Method 2: Double-Stack Olla Pots
This method uses two pots to hold more water. Make this size for larger garden beds

Tools and Materials:
(2) terra-cotta pots
waterproof sealant
metal stamping blanks
painter's tape
garden trowel
small cork to fit in pot's drainage hole

1. Seal Drainage Hole in One Pot
Apply waterproof sealant around the drainage hole at the bottom of one of the pots. Put a little sealant around the perimeter of a stamping blank. Press the stamping blank over the hole, making sure the sealant is adhering to the pot. Allow the sealant to dry.

2. Test the Pot
Pour water into the pot to make sure the drainage hole is not leaking. If it is leaking, apply more sealant around the metal blank inside the pot. You will see the porous pot become dark with moisture. This is how the water will seep out and slowly water the roots of a plant.

3. Stack + Glue Pots
Place a bead of waterproof sealant along the rim of the pot with the sealed drainage hole. Place the pot without the sealed drainage hole on top — upside down so the two pot rims are meeting and will be sealed together. Use painter’s tape to hold the pots in place while the sealant dries. Let dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

4. Bury the Pots
Dig a hole in the center of your garden or raised bed. Make it deep enough that the rim of the top pot sits just above the soil line. Fill the pot with water.

5. Cork It
Use a cork to plug the top drainage hole. This will keep pests out and water in. Check the moisture level in the soil with a meter. Roots should be getting water after one day. Refill the pot as needed.
Gardening Beds
Method 3: Olla Pots With Drip Irrigation
This method uses double-stack olla pots and drip-irrigation hoses. This method is perfect for gardens and raised beds.

Tools and Materials:
terra-cotta pots
waterproof sealant
metal stamping blanks
painter's tape
garden trowel
1/4" vinyl tubing
1/4" tee fitting
female pipe adapter
hose adapter
punch
1/4" barb coupling
package rubber washers

1. Seal Drainage Hole in One Pot
With this method, we used several double-stack pots. Build the double-stack pots the same way as explained in method 2. For each set of pots, apply waterproof sealant around the drainage hole at the bottom of one of the pots. Put a little sealant around the perimeter of a stamping blank. Press stamping blank over the hole, making sure the sealant is adhering to the pot. Allow the sealant to dry.

2. Test the Pot
Pour water into the pot to make sure the drainage hole is not leaking. If it is leaking, apply more sealant around the metal blank inside the pot. You will see the porous pot become dark with moisture. This is how the water will seep out and slowly water the roots of a plant.

3. Stack + Glue Pots
Place a bead of waterproof sealant along the rim of the pot with the sealed drainage hole. Place the pot without the sealed drainage hole on top — upside down so the two pot rims are meeting and will be sealed together. Use painter’s tape to hold the pots in place while the sealant dries. Let dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

4. Prep Hose Attachment
Connect 1/2" plastic pipe to an end cap and a hose attachment.

5. Cut + Connect Irrigation Tubing
Determine how far apart you’re going to place your olla pots; you’ll want them evenly spaced. Cut the flexible black tubing so that they can connect to the top of each pot; we made ours about 18 inches long. Attach the tubing together with tee fittings.

6. Attach to Source
Punch a hole in the 1/2" pipe that is attached to the adaptors. Connect the 1/4" flexible tubing into the hole using barb coupling.

7. Cover Drainage Holes With Washers
Use the waterproof sealant to glue a rubber washer over the top drainage hole on your double-stack pots. This will hold the 1/4" flexible tubing snug and prevent it from slipping out of the pot.

8. Bury the Pots
Dig a hole to bury each double-stack pot. Fill in with dirt around the pot. Leave the top accessible just above the soil line.

9. Connect Water Lines
Carefully insert vertical drip lines into the top hole of each pot. Connect the adaptor to the water hose and allow the drip to fill up all pots. To make it easier, set a daily timer to ensure your pots stay full all season long.