Underground Terra Cotta Watering Pots
I live in an area where the water is especially high in iron. (Just as a side joke, the first time I did the whites load of laundry when I moved in here, all the whites came out orange. ...I moved from the city and ended up in the country on well water... I couldn't figure out what I did wrong. And to top it off, the orange wouldn't come out when I did them again with bleach that time. If anything, they were worse.)
So drip irrigation is out with well water since the garage and outdoor spigots are not hooked up to any kind of filtration system. The iron builds up and blocks all the holes, no more drips.
So after 4 years trying to come up with a watering solution, last year I stumbled on Oyas (some companies Ollas). All they are is unglazed terra cotta containers you bury in your garden (leaving the top hole above ground) so you can fill them with water once or twice a week. As your soil gets dry, by osmosis the soil draws the water out of the Oya.
I did it in several areas of my garden the first year and it worked great. So I figured each year I will add some more to other areas.
The problem though now is I have 26 of these things. The end of last year I had 12, I bought a few new ones late last Fall and then more early this Spring. I still need 7 more to finish off my existing garden beds.
So as I mentioned these are terra cotta. If they are wet and freeze obviously they can crack. So since I live in a four seasons climate I always dig them up, clean them, dry them out and store for the winter. That was easy the first year when I had four. The second year was up to twelve.
So all the digging to bury and then dig them all to get them back up to clean and dry out is really the downside to this method of watering. In a nutshell it is very time consuming.
So has anyone ever tried any method in their experience how terra cotta could stay underground and still survive the cold months of the year? I was thinking of taking maybe two or three of them this Fall and leave them in. Cover them with an insulating material and add some straw and see if they would survive until next Spring.
Anyone have any other ideas? Or maybe someone with outdoor watering systems for the livestock, how do you keep your water from freezing during the cold weather?