When I dug up the ollas from the bean bed I was able to see that the roots of the bean plants had indeed grown in a solid mat around each olla. That is exactly what I was hoping for.
I used ollas for beans in two different beds. One was planted with Royal Burgandy the other with Ventura (green). The beans were planted in succession, starting with the burgandy bed. Finally, olla types varied among the beds; the burgandy bed had two ‘red art with sand’ and one ‘terracotta brown’, the green bed had one ‘terracotta brown’, one ‘red art’, and one ‘sculpture clay’.
The one actual control in the ‘experiment’ was using the two terracotta brown ollas. They were planted at the same time but with different bean types. The one planted with burgandy had way more dense root growth surrounding it than the one planted with Ventura. Overall, the root mats were definitely more pronounced around the ollas in the burgandy bed than in the green bed. Did the burgandy beans have higher yield than the green beans? Hard to say.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE: What I take away from this experience is that ollas work great with bush beans.
Follow along below for a photo journey of growing beans with ollas:
My homemade ollas of ‘Red Art with Sand’
‘Brown terracotta’ ollas prior to planting
After digging up the ollas this fall:
From left to right: RAS (red art with sand), RAS, and brown terracotta ollas adjacent to where they had been planted. You can see the root mat left behind where each olla had been planted.
For previous olla posts check out these links:
Planting my first ollas
Olla lids come home
Control plots for ollas
Digging potatoes II
Potatoes by olla or not – here is the answer