How Do I Use My Oya?
Alright, you’ve buried your Oya up to the neck in the middle of your planting area. Nice work. Now you’re ready to get planting.
Like most things in nature, Oyas don’t have hard edges or corners–they are beautifully round.
That means you should plant around your Oya in a circular configuration to make the most of the Oya’s watering abilities. Think concentric circles instead of uniform rows.
The basic rule of thumb when planting around your Oyas is to plant your thirsty drinkers to the center or closer to the Oya and the lighter-drinking, more drought-tolerant plants to the outside. Also, longer, more creeping root systems are more able to travel through the soil to reach the water in the Oya, while the smaller rooted plants need to be closer to reach and get what they need. Because of the watering efficiencies of Oyas in raised beds and containers, inter-cropping and growing up (trellis) is encouraged and can provide a big success rate.
Once you’re all planted up and feeling good about your configuration, you can fill your Oya to the top with water and also surface water your garden for 1-2 weeks. This allows the roots of your plants to get established and start their journey toward the Oya water source. Depending on the conditions, seeds or young transplants planted near your Oya may require more surface watering to get their roots started.
Once the roots are established, just fill your Oyas once every 2-7 days and watch things grow easy with far less water. Though your Oya will certainly catch some water when it rains, it will not keep it filled. As always, keep an eye out for signs of dehydration (wilting, browning, etc.) and add supplemental watering to your plants as needed. Your Oya is drastically reducing the water used in your garden, but in harsh conditions you’re still wise to keep an eye on how thing are growing.
Feel free to use your favorite garden planning tool to map out your configuration plans. Just remember to think in concentric circles instead of rows.
How Do I Care For My Oya?
Like anything, the better you care for your Oyas the longer they’ll last. Care is simple: Just pull Oyas up before the ground freezes, clean them off (a stiff brush or a 1:10 vinegar solution will do the trick) and store dry.
Regular cleaning retains the porosity of your Oyas, and any water in the walls of the Oya will expand when frozen and could crack your Oyas.
Do I Need To Put A Lid On It?
Yup! Put a lid on it.
Your Oya comes with a green silicone lid. Use it to help keep evaporation in and critters out. It’s silicone so it can withstand the rigours of the garden—beating sun, wet/dry conditions, etc.—and it’s bright so it won’t get lost among your lush #OyaGrown garden.
Can I Use Fertilizer in My Oyas?
We say don’t.
Theoretically, if the fertilizer you are using is completely water soluble (dissolves entirely in the water) it could work. But the tight pores of the terracotta will act as a filter for any larger particles, and could clog.
And really, how often do you need to fertilize? Make that your surface watering exception.
What Are The Benefits Of An Oya?
We don’t mean to brag, but using Oyas in your garden will bring all kinds of benefits.
Surface watering is inefficient. Watering slowly at the roots uses 50-70% less water.
Water only every 5–10 days—take the long weekend off.
Well-watered plants produce more flowers, more food, more smiles around the house.
No surface water means the weeds don’t get the water they need to grow. Imagine that.
NO MORE VACATION GARDEN SITTER
No need to call in favors—just fill your Oyas and hit the road for a few days.
Plants get what they need as they need it, taking the guesswork out of watering.
PROMOTE ROOT DEVELOPMENT
Underground watering encourages roots to grow deep. Healthy below, healthy above.
IMPROVE SOIL STRUCTURE
Oyas prevent soil compaction and shrinkage from surface watering. Plus, you’ll lose fewer nutrients to runoff. Better soil means better plants.
MITIGATE WATER QUALITY ISSUES
Not all water is created equal. Salinity and hard water are real issues for some folks. Oyas help filter out the bad stuff leaving better water for your plants.
Gardens are happier without water stress. Grow better plants while doing your part to help the environment.