1) Repeatedly Calibrating the Blumat Sensor
The instructions of getting a blumat to a “hanging drip” and calibrating from there (tighten 2 triangles for Blumat sensors & drippers, or none for BluSoak systems) is for the initial calibration ONLY. You do NOT need to repeat this process if your moisture levels are not where you’d like them.
This process is a rough calibration, and any further adjustments to moisture levels can be made by simply turning the adjustable knob on the Blumat. If your soil is more wet than you’d like, you’ll turn the knob clockwise. If it’s more dry than is ideal, you’ll turn the knob counter-clockwise to increase the flow rate.
You only need to find the hanging drip one time, and then follow up with small adjustments to the blumat sensor(s) in the following days/weeks.
2) Making Big, Fast Adjustments
The working metaphor for adjusting blumat sensors is that of driving a boat. If the reader has ever driven a boat, they’ll know that when the wheel is turned, the boat does not immediately change direction the way a car does. The rudder of the boat instantly moves, but there is a time-gap between the time the wheel is turned and when the boat will actually begin to turn. Blumat systems are the same! If you adjust your system and don’t see immediate results, your best bet is to wait 24 hours.
The common mistake is that the user adjusts he system, but won’t see results in a few hours. Not seeing desired results, the user continues to adjust the system. This results in a series of over-corrections, and is likely to result in moisture swings. The user will continue to adjust back and forth, getting big swings in moisture.
Instead, the user should make an adjustment and wait 24-48 hours to see results before making additional adjustments. This will minimize the problem of over-correcting. To finish with the boat metaphor–you want to drive in a straight line, not a series of “S” curves!
3) Being Too Number-Focused
Readings on the digital meter are targets to be aimed for–they’re not a measurement of your self-worth! If your digital meter readings fluctuate at all, or otherwise are not hitting that “perfect” number of 100 mbar, you should not be concerned. Minor fluctuations are normal, and you should gauge the success of your system on your plant health, not the meter reading.
Depending on environmental circumstances, you may find that 100mbar is an optimal moisture level for you. You may also find that 100mbar leads to problems! Coco and soil cultivators will find optimal growth at different readings. Differing humidity levels and ambient temperature will impact ideal readings as well.
I’ve personally spoken with growers having great success at 40mbar up to 200mbar. Personally, my plants are obviously overwatered at 40mbar and will be stunted! 200mbar is too dry, and my plants will grow but will not yield very well.
Don’t be attached to a number. Use the readings on your moisture meter to dial in the perfect reading for you and your garden.
4) Turning Water Supply On/Off
Cultivators often turn their Blumat Watering Systems off when they’re supplementing with compost teas, hand-watering, or if it has rained in an outdoor garden. This can be dangerous! Blumat sensors require a constant supply of water at a constant pressure to self-regulate and operate properly. When water supply is intermittently turned off, the blumat sensors cannot deliver water as they dry out. This will cause the valve to open excessively. When water supply is restored, the open valve will likely flood your system, or cause a “runaway” blumat.
Blumat systems sense excess moisture, depending how they’re calibrated. If you supplement with hand-watering, nutrients, rain, or any other moisture, your system does not need to be turned off or adjusted at all. The blumat sensors will stop emitting moisture until the moisture levels in your media fall to levels you’ve previously calibrated the system to. Keep your system on, unless it is actively flooding!
5) Getting Frustrated
Blumat systems should make your life easier! If you’re having trouble, read the Tips/Tricks PDF. IF you still can’t figure things out, call the office and solve the problem quickly. Frustrated customers are usually a 5 minute phone call away from being successful for the rest of their cycle/season. Please don’t hesitate to contact our experienced and knowledgable staff at 303.998.1323 if you continue to experience problems!