Blumat is an innovative watering system that works without pumps or electricity. The heart of the system is the clay cones—also referred to as “carrots” due to their shape. The ceramic water-filled cones measure the moisture levels in your garden beds and containers, only releasing water when necessary. This prevents over-watering, a common cause of dying plants for new gardeners.
Pre-built Blumat watering systems are available, making it quick and easy to get your watering system running. But for those with complex needs or the desire to do it yourself, individual parts and pieces can be assembled into a custom Blumat system.
Today, we are going to cover the basics of a DIY Blumat system, as the options can seem a bit confusing at first for new users. We will be looking at reservoirs, tubing, fittings, and more to help get your Blumat watering system up and running.
Which Blumat System Is Right For You?
There are three different Blumat systems: Easy, Classic, and Tropf. Each system comes with its own pros and cons—let’s take a look at the differences.
The Blumat Easy system is as simple as it gets. A clay carrot is attached to a plastic bottle of your choosing and inserted into a planting container. The carrot measures the soil moisture at the plant’s roots. Whenever the soil dries out, the carrot releases just enough to water to properly saturate the growing medium. This cycle will continue until the plastic bottle runs out of water. Blumat Easy is perfect for those with just a few houseplants to take care of.
The Blumat Classic system is a step up from Blumat Easy, as your plants can be left alone for longer amounts of time. In this setup, a clay carrot is still inserted into the growing medium, but the water reservoir is placed next to the plant. This allows for larger reservoirs and longer times that your plants will not require attention. You can take that big vacation without worrying about the health and care of your plants.
Blumat Classic has been in production and use since 1965—it is tried and true, working well for most indoor plants. However, the system is not well-suited for larger gardens and commercial applications. That’s where Blumat-Tropf comes in.
Tropf is a German word that translates to “drip” in English, as this system is based on drip irrigation. Tropf-Blumat is the most powerful and expandable Blumat system available, allowing gardeners to automatically water an entire garden without the need for electricity. This system is the basis for all custom Blumat setups. We will cover the basics of Tropf-Blumat below, including the planning and implementation of a DIY system.
As with most gardening projects, it is best to approach your new Blumat watering system with a concrete plan. You will need to determine the number of beds and plants that your system will be nourishing. This allows you to buy the proper amount of clay cones, in addition to determining the reservoir size and amount of tubing you will need.
If growing in containers, you will need at least one watering cone for each pot. For garden beds, distribution drippers or blusoak tape can be used to water many plants using just one or two clay carrots. The carrots should be placed near the roots of a plant to measure the moisture. When the moisture level drops, water will be distributed through the distribution drippers or blusoak tape until the proper saturation level is reached again.
You will also need to consider the path that the water will travel and account for the fittings necessary to supply all of your carrots. Available fittings include tees, crosses, unions, elbows, and more, ensuring that any setup that you dream of building can be accomplished. If you have ever worked with drip irrigation systems, the tubings and fittings will be familiar to you.
Choosing a Water Supply: Reservoir or Spigot?
Blumat watering systems are commonly fed from a reservoir that is kept above your plants. The natural power of gravity supplies all of the pressure that the system needs to function properly. Blumat has 5-gallon reservoirs available that are pre-built and pre-fitted with all of the necessary connectors. You just need to run the included tubing and clay cones to your plants and you’re all set.
If you subscribe to the DIY ethos, you can certainly craft your own reservoir. Almost any plastic storage container will work, including 5 gallon buckets, storage bins, and rain barrels. Make sure the reservoir you choose is BPA-free to avoid any contamination in your system. Keep all water storage at least 3 feet above your plants to supply the optimal amount of pressure.
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of hanging a reservoir above your garden beds—or if space just doesn’t allow it—your Blumat system can also be supplied by a hose. A hose spigot pressure reducer will be necessary to avoid overpowering your system (15 psi is recommended for ideal functionality) For indoor systems, using a hose spigot is not recommended.
When purchasing the clay carrots in packs from most distributors, each set will include the necessary tubing and connectors. For instance, a 5-pack Starter Kit of carrots includes 7 meters of tubing, which is more than enough to run between a reservoir and 5 potted plants. If you purchase carrots individually without the tubing for a custom setup, Blumat offers rolls of 8mm tubing in both Standard and Superflex varieties. The tubing is not readily available in most American stores, as it is a standard European size.
As part of the design process, you will need to determine the types and quantity of fittings that your Blumat system will require. You can take a look at Blumat’s pre-built kits for inspiration, but large, custom setups may require a bit of ingenuity to make sure that the water flows correctly. Water reservoir tank connectors make it possible to run water from your reservoir without any leaks or issues, and adding a shut-off valve allows for simpler servicing of your system.
There are many optional upgrades that can make your Blumat system work more efficiently. The Blumat Digital Moisture Meter allows you to monitor the moisture levels at the roots of your plants. This will help you resolve issues as they occur and gives you a deeper look into the health of your plants.
The 3mm Quick Connect On-Off Valves give you the luxury of moving your plants around without disrupting the rest of your setup. Combined with a shut-off valve at the reservoir, the Quick Connect Valves relieve any worry about servicing and changing up your Blumat system.
For commercial growers, the Blumat Basic Pump System allows many more plants to be fed from a single reservoir. You won’t need to elevate the water storage, and you will never have to worry about supplying the proper amount of pressure.
Blumat: The Passive Watering System
Taking care of plants can often become as time-intensive as pets or children—after all, they are living beings, and therefore require carefully calculated amounts of water, nutrients, air, and sunlight. The biggest aversion that most people have with plant care is the watering schedule, as even just taking a weekend vacation can have adverse effects on your crops.
For folks with these worries, the Blumat watering system is a blessing. As long as your reservoir is filled with water, your plants will be supplied with the proper moisture. With no electricity needed, the system will keep working even through power outages. And due to the low-tech nature of the system, the parts and kits are affordable for most gardeners.