Orta Kitchen Garden
Orta makes terracotta self-watering planters designed to make seed starting easier and more successful. You fill the reservoir once a week, and your baby plants get all the moisture they need.
We’re also on a mission to make the world a greener place, both by helping people grow more plants, and by making our operations as environmentally friendly as possible.
The Makers and their Production Spaces
All Orta pots are made in our Berkeley studio by a team of two people, the business owner plus one employee.
The Making Process
Orta pots are made from terracotta clay using traditional slip-casting methods. Slip (liquid clay) is poured into plaster molds and then poured out again to create a hollow form whose exterior matches the interior of the mold.
After casting, the pots are finished by hand. While they’re still damp, we smooth the surface with knives and sponges. Once dry, the pots are coated in our proprietary glazes, formulated to function in a single, low firing (to save energy) and to be applied by dipping rather than spraying (to keep particulates out of the air).
The Production Model
We use a slow and steady production method. Ceramics do best with consistency in everything: temperature, cycle times, batch sizes, etc. We produce at about the same rate every day, year round, building inventory in our slow season, and selling it in our busy times.
Everywhere possible, we use non-toxic ingredients. Early on, we developed a clay recipe that eliminates the toxic barium carbonate (commonly used as rat poison) that is in most commercial formulations.
Our glazes are lead-free. They also primarily use encapsulated stains which make them especially inert and safe when used at our low firing temperatures.
We also use 100% plastic-free packaging, including all our shipping padding.