Garden Pots (O-Yahz) | Sustainable Scientist

DIY Wine Box Herb Garden

DIY Wine Box Herb Garden

I first read about using pots in the garden from the DeVraies family, full-time urban homesteaders in Sacramento. They also made a good video of pot installation here.

I was immediately intrigued. "It rains a lot in Seattle", but what a few people know that it does not rain much, sometimes at all, during summer. Water conservation gets to be pretty important during the dry summer months, especially for gardeners.

Furthermore, my garden is big, is far from my water source, and is awkwardly surrounded by anti-chicken fencing. Water pots that could increase efficiency> 50% and only needed to be filled 1 / week sounded awesome.

Enter the clay pot; the clay pot. Here's the deal. An unglazed, low-fired earthenware, like terra cotta, is porous. Water will seep from it. If it is fired just right, water will be drawn from it by the touch of something more dry, like fine soil or plant roots.

Garden pots have bulbous bottoms and narrow necks. They are buried up to their neck, filled with water, and capped with something to prevent evaporation. Planting around the pot, within the seep zone, allows plant roots to grow towards the pot, sometimes enveloping it. As the plant roots suck water from the pot, the water level declines and the pot needs to be refilled.

DIY Wine Box Herb Garden

Could I get some in Seattle? No. Could I order them online? Yes, but $$$. For this frugal graduate student the $$$ was a definite deal-breaker. Plus I'd need a lot of them. But hey, wait a minute. I'm a potter ... could I make one?

OK, I'm not that good to potter. I had no idea where to start. My teachers recommended I use the groggy sculpture clay and make the walls 1/2 "thick. I started with a flat slab bottom and hand-built the walls using rough coils. My first pots are big, heavy, thick-walled, and I have no idea if they will work.

I made lids with funny animal heads, stained them with oxides and underglazes, then covered them with a low-fire clear glaze. I could fire them hot, cause the lids do not need to remain porous, but they will just stick with the low-fire for now. I'll post another pic when they come out of the kiln. [Update: Here they are!]

Next post: Planting Pots!

After all the fretting about clay bodies, firing temperatures, and matrix porosity, I'm thinking of building my next ones from a low-fired earthenware like terra cotta, hoping our lowest firing temp (1000c) will keep the body porous. Any advice would be great.

Check out this wonderful technical document from the University of Pretoria.

Ancient Artifax | Pre-Columbian
A single stress crack, that went from the outer edge toward the center has been restored along with very minor paint touch ups. Sackler Collection," Between Continents - Between Seas " Seeing With New Eyes "Art of the Ancient Americas from the Michael C.