Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ollas- Affordable Water Conservation

Irrigation of plants by means of ollas, unglazed pottery jars, is an ancient practice. It was brought to the American Southwest by Spanish settlers and adapted to local gardens by Native American gardeners as well as by the Spanish settlers.

Over time, modern systems were adopted, but these modern systems are not as efficient as irrigation by buried ollas. Modern systems, even surface drip irrigation systems lose more water to evaporation and are more likely to clog than ollas. When ollas are used properly, plant roots will proliferate around the moist clay jar, intercepting water before it can move through the soil by capillary action. This water intercepted by plant roots will then be used in the plant transpiration stream. This results in almost 100% of applied irrigation water being absorbed by the plants.

Our Ollas (pronounced “Oh-yas”) are made right here at  East Central Ministries by local folks.  They are based on the  ancient practice of burying unglazed clay pots in the  ground, then planting around the pot.  Water is then added to the pot, and it slowly seeps through, providing a super-efficient way to irrigate! Ollas are great for conserving water here in the Southwest.  In fact, they have been estimated to be more efficient than drip irrigation!  Available at East Central Ministries, Whole Foods, and other local nurseries.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What's growing at ECM

Many of our plants are taking off and need new homes so please stop by before you get that garden started and buy some plants that you can feel good about.  With the purchase of our plants you are giving back to the community at ECM and surrounding us as we seek to create healthier options of food for our neighbors through planter boxes and general knowledge about growing your own food.
We have tons of vegetables and fruit plants for sale including: tomato varieties, pepper varieties, artichokes, herbs,  blueberries, pears, and strawberries, and much much more. To view our spring 2010 catalog click here. All are reasonably priced and very well taken care of.  Most of the plants are already weatherized and ready to plant.  After you find you plants don't forget your ollas.  What is an olla? Well, you will save on water .... check out the next post to find out!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Playground Project

We were very blessed to receive a grant from Kaboom to build a playground in the front area near the food co-op.  Some members of the local community have been hard at work to supplement that income in order to help with work-day costs and getting volunteers to show up.  This evening we had our very first fundraiser concert put on by some local bands.  Some of our neighbors brought food to sell and we enjoyed some great local music.  Thank you to The Albuquerque Boy's Choir, April Barreiro, and Jenny Gonzales for blessing us with your music and providing another way for people to see what we are doing here at ECM.