Friday, February 26, 2016

Ollas Part 2: Best place to buy ollas on the cheap is GrowOya

2019 UPDATE: How Did My Garden Grow? for the Ollas Part 3 post

2019 UPDATED Buying Guide:
If you read Ollas Part 3 then you'll figure out that my olla gardening experience did not go well in my dry Salt Lake City desert climate.  But if you really want to try it, here are a couple of places you can buy them (it seems the only available size is small which really limits your watering radius):

If you read Ollas Part 1, then you already know about ollas and that I made my own.  While it was definitely a cheap option (about $5 per olla), I didn't enjoy the process and wasn't getting fabulous results in my garden with my homemade ollas.  For the last year, I have been keeping up with the olla online market.  I somehow stumbled upon the company GrowOya and ending up finding a good deal on Jet and bought two to try out in my garden this year.  I am beyond excited!
Here is a snippet from GrowOya's website.
So this review is not complete in that I haven't tested these ollas for a whole garden season and cannot make any statement as to how well they will do in the garden.  However, I really feel like I need to get this review public now because:

  1. I do not know how long these ollas will be on sale and wanted to give my readers a chance to buy a somewhat affordable olla if they do not want take the DIY gamble.
  2. I have high hopes that they will perform well in my garden this year based on the reasons below.
I will definitely come back to this post at the end of the growing season to give you all the details on this particular olla.

Okay, now here is the story of how I got the large GrowOya ollas for $23 each shipped.
Right now they are on sale for about $28 at Amazon, Walmart, and Jet.  But both Amazon and Walmart have a shipping charge of about $9 per olla.  Jet has a shipping charge of $6 for one olla.  Here is how I cut the price down even more:

  • Got a 15% discount for it being my first purchase from Jet.
  • Got a 2% discount for buying two.  This increases with each additional one that is bought.
  • FREE shipping when you spend at least $35.
Also noteworthy is that they have a 1.5% discount for using your debit card (I did not do this).

Now for the review!  First off, I have one tip to give the company and it goes like this:
Dear GrowOya, the name of your olla helps people pronounce "olla" correctly BUT the benefit stops there.  Not having the real word "olla" in the name or any title desciptions makes it go un-noticed when a basic search is done on Google, Amazon, Walmart, etc. The GrowOya company is missing out on tons of sales by not having the word "olla" in the the title!  I know this because I have been actively keeping tabs on olla companies that sell online for over a year and just happened to recently stumble upon GrowOya by luck.  If you want to increase your sales, you've got to have the correct spelling in at least the title heading.
Here are the Pros:

Price:  GrowOya is one of the most affordable option for ollas that I have found online in the USA, even at the regular price of $40 per large olla.  When you get it on sale with free shipping, it becomes even more affordable. As discussed above, I went this route and saved 57% off regular prices.
Weeping Ability:  I think that one of the problems with my homemade ollas is that they do not weep out water as fast as these ollas from GrowOya.  When I test out my homemade terra-cotta pots, it takes them about 15 minutes to start weeping.  When I tested out this large olla from GrowOya, it started weeping in under 5 minutes.  I think that the terra-cotta pots must be made in a kiln with higher temperatures than an authentic olla.  How does this play out in the garden?  The plants around my homemade terra-cotta ollas sometimes showed signs of under-watering.  I believe that the higher weep rate will help distribute the water to the root systems of my surrounding tomatoes at a slightly higher and more consistent rate than my homemade ollas.  I have high hopes that these large GrowOyas will do their job and each keep a 4-foot area adequately moist.

Appearance:  When I opened the GrowOya box, I was in olla heaven.  These ollas are not excessively heavy, yet feel solid.  The design is simply beautiful with a smooth consistency in texture.  There are no dents or clumpy areas on the vessel.  I also really like the simply water droplet stamp that is on the neck of the olla, which is a nice touch but also functional in that it is a guide for how far to bury it in the ground.

Here are the Cons:

No lid:  Although the company claims that the narrow two-inch opening should keep evaporation down, I live in dry, dry UT and seriously doubt that claim.  Personally, I will be finding something to use as lids for my two ollas to keep evaporation to a nil and also keep bugs/critters/debris out of them.

Teeny Tiny Cracks around Logo Stamp at Base:  At the bottom of these GrowOyas is a stamp imprint of the company logo.  Around the imprint are very tiny cracks.  When I performed my weeping tests, I did not notice watering dripping out at these areas.  Nevertheless, I feel like this is a potential design flaw that the company needs to fix through making sure that the base is thick enough to support a company imprint stamp at the bottom.  A crack in any olla is NOT a good thing!  I will be caulking around the imprint to prevent any further future cracking.

BOTTOMLINE:  These GrowOya ollas are significantly less expensive than other commercial ollas, have a large water capacity, and are truly beautiful.  Yet I wish that they included a lid and that the base was sturdier to support the company imprint stamp.  I will update at the end of the growing season.

Thanks for reading.  Do you have experience with the GrowOya brand?  Let us know by commenting below.

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