1) Happy Microbial Communities
Blumat systems keep constant, steady levels of moisture in soil. The regular supply of moisture keeps microbial communities happy, in homeostasis, and with the ability to multiply. With hand-watering systems, the dry/wet cycles can stress out bacteria and other microorganisms. When these organisms are stressed, they produce chemical compounds that can negatively affect your soil (anyone who has seen hydrophobic soil, or water that runs off the top of a container has seen this 1st-hand!) and plant health.
Hydrophobic soil is actually due to water-resistant glues produced by bacteria. The bacteria sense an impending drought, and produce a membrane around their colony that prevents moisture from escaping. However, this membrane also prevents moisture from getting in if the bacteria die! When you water your soil after it dries out, you might notice water running off the top and over the sides of the pot, rather than integrating with the soil. You’re watching the water contact these membrane compounds produced by bacteria.
These compounds are not easy to remove! By keeping your microorganisms healthy and happy, your soil and plants will stay happy too.
2) Goldi-Locks Moisture Zone
Hand-watered gardens or those on timers go through fluctuations of moisture levels. If you water in the morning for example, it is likely your plants are over-watered for the beginning hours of the day. They are not in optimal growth/metabolism, and likely won’t be for several hours. Then as moisture levels get optimal toward the middle of the day, your plants begin to grow rapidly. As the soil dries toward the end of the day, plants slow growth as they work to conserve water supply.
Instead of going through a daily cycle where optimal growth is achieved for only a few hours a day, Blumat systems keep your soil in the “Goldi-Locks” Zone all the time. This means you will see bigger plants in shorter periods of time, and increased yields. When you are moving in/out of the Goldi-Locks zone, you are wasting precious time and opportunity. Blumats minimize moisture swings, and you will see this translate to constantly-vigorous growth and flowering.
3) Optimized Composting/Decomposition
When moisture levels in soil are at optimal levels, this keeps the decomposition process in the soil going. Many cultivators top-dress or practice “no-till” style gardening. The decomposition process is done by worms, fungi, and other arthropods and microorganisms, and is key to rejuvenating your soil with vital nutrients. Without the decay and decomposition process, plants would have no available nutrients and could not grow!
Nutrient availability is optimized by catalyzing and encouraging these processes. The decomposition and composting processes require moisture, as the organisms consume moisture when they break organic matter down. When there’s too much moisture, pathogenic and anaerobic organisms can get a foothold in your garden and cause problems. By keeping moisture levels optimal, you encourage aerobic soil conditions, which means fast decay of organic matter, compost tea/extract, and top-dressed materials. That translates into faster plant growth and bigger yields!
4) Increased Fungal Activity
Anyone who has grown mold (even on a sandwich, accidentally) knows it loves moisture. The same goes for beneficial fungi in the soil. Beneficial fungi are much harder to develop in soil than bacteria! These organisms are more complex than bacteria, and require optimal growing conditions and complex food molecules. They are less resilient than bacterial populations, and must be catered to.
While more difficult to keep alive, beneficial fungi also offer greater boons to plant health than most bacteria. Gardens with beneficial fungi thrive, and become more resilient to environmental stresses over time.
These fungi are more temperamental than the bacterial communities referenced in point 1). They like constant and steady supplies of moisture, and need them to survive and thrive. If you want to reap the rewards of these beneficial fungi in your soil, you’ll need to keep them happy with constant levels of moisture that blumat systems provide.
5) Eliminate Human Error
Whenever friends visit my home garden and remark on the plant health, they are always surprised to hear how little maintenance I actually do. “Less is more” is the motto with blumat systems. In my days as a beginning gardener, I often caused more harm than good by giving my plants and soil “too much love.” You certainly can kill plants with kindness!
By installing a blumat watering system and automating your watering based on plant demand, you minimize the possibilities of making mistakes. Watering is one of the most simple aspects of gardening, and yet has the biggest potential to make or break a crop of any aspect of plant life.
Blumat systems take out the guesswork, and offer water “on tap” to your plant roots. Let them drink as they please, and stop harming your plants with good intentions!