It was series of gardening mishaps that got Berkeley resident Anne Fletcher wondering: Could she come up with a way to keep seedlings and cuttings moist if she missed a day or two of watering due to travel or other distractions? A design consultant and home cook, Fletcher had repeatedly tried to grow seeds in trays, but all too frequently her seedlings didn’t survive.
In 2011, Fletcher came up with the solution: a “self-watering” terracotta pot with a reservoir that gets filled once per week. Setting up to design and manufacture in Oakland, Fletcher and her team found a way to make the pots without the plastics or electronics other self-watering methods rely on. They also developed custom non-toxic glazes and a unique seed-starting soil mix for use in the pots.
The pots have a beautiful name, “Orta,” which comes from the Italian word for kitchen garden, a spot to grow herbs, vegetables, fruit, and flowers for home use or to share with friends.
Find Orta Seed Pots at the Temescal Farmers’ Market through December as well as at Berkeley Horticultural Nursery and Mrs. Dalloway’s bookstore. ortakitchengarden.com