What is Demand-Based Watering?

There are so many methods of irrigation, and so many different terms that it’s difficult to keep them all straight.

Traditional irrigation systems use timers, digital relays, and valve-controls to deliver pre-determined volumes of water at pre-determined times.  This rigid watering regimen is certainly convenient for humans–but is it the right approach for plants?

Like most organisms, plants are self-regulating to an extent.  They will uptake water through their roots when they need it, can transpire excess water through their leaves, and can adapt to ever-changing environmental conditions.  This is comparable to healthy eating habits of humans–we should eat when we are hungry and require sustenance, and don’t eat when we have enough to feel fortified.

We have roughly the same eating times each day, but most of us make many exceptions!  Depending on my day’s activities, I may or may not be hungry at exactly 6PM each day.  Similarly, depending on environmental conditions, plants will want to uptake water at varying times of day each day.

Wouldn’t it be ideal to deliver water as plants want it, the same way we eat when we’re hungry?

Demand-based watering does exactly that.  These irrigation systems deliver water only when the plant “asks” for it.  It sounds like a lofty idea, requiring complicated electronics and sensors.  Thanks to Blumat Watering Systems, it doesn’t have to be complicated–it doesn’t even require power!

Blumat carrots or moisture sensors can be calibrated such that they only release water to your plants, soil, and/or root zone as it is taken up by the plant.

When a plant takes water from the soil, the soil dries.  This dry soil pulls on the water inside of the Blumat, causing the membrane in the top to pull down too.  This opens the irrigation line in the top of the blumat, allowing water to slowly flow.  As moisture is restored to the soil and it stops pulling on the Blumat valve, the membrane pushes up onto the irrigation tubing and pinches it shut until the soil is dry again.  Thus, the Blumat allows a flow rate of water that is equivalent to the loss of water of the growing media.

This is demand-based watering–delivering the minimum amount of water required to keep your plants and media at optimum levels of health!