We had a very quick winter here on the Central Coast with just a little bit of rain, spotty at best, while the rest of the country has been buried under blankets of snow. As California is technically still experiencing a severe drought, I want to address ceramics in irrigation.
Irrigation Through Clay
In the newsletter, we have covered many subjects concerning ceramics. In irrigation, ceramics also has many uses. The Romans created an intricate system of aqueducts, which directed water throughout all parts of the empire. We see this around the world, ceramic pipe systems carrying water through towns and villages.
Clay Shards and Slow Water Release
Ceramic “shards” can also be used as a soil amendment. The broken pottery has to be low fire to be absorbent. Low fire ware may be crushed and added to the soil and as you water, the shards act as little sponges and absorb the water and release it essentially as needed below ground.
Clay Pot Irrigation
Another use I find very interesting is what is called “clay pot irrigation.” If you perform an internet search of this term and go to “Images,” you will see excellent examples of how this works. Essentially, it is a very simple technique. Again, a low fire vessel is made by a potter, and is then buried right next to the plants you want to irrigate; fill it with water, and because of the porosity of the low fire ceramic, it leeches through the walls of the vessel and waters the plant by slowly releasing a minimal amount of water.
Cultures around the world have been using this method forever! Look it up, check it out, and enjoy these new yet very old techniques of gardening. Ceramics in your garden is not just decorative, it can be very functional.