2011 was a poor garden year for me. A new job (busy!) and the weather sucked (cold, wet).
My tender young starts did not thrive. Twice the average rain in May, with very cool days, meant gardens throughout the Pacific Northwest were delayed an entire month.
When summer finally began, it rained once in July, once in August, twice in September. It is common for July to be rainless, but such little rain over the entire summer was ‘special’. Despite the excessive drought, the ollas clearly worked to provide water to the roots during the growing period (Jul-Sep).
Although the plants never got large, they did produce fruit into November. I cannot make any scientific statements about the olla contribution during 2011, except to say that nightshades require a decent amount of water and overhead watering easily spreads soil diseases to vulnerable leaves. Despite no hand watering in 2011, my nightshades produced well and were less diseased than usual by summer’s end.
I am making more ollas this winter. I hope that in 2012 I will be able to use ollas for all my deep-rooted, water-loving plants. And I hope for a warmer spring (she says as it snows and snows outside). Keep ‘ya posted.