Overview & Origin
BluSoak drip tape (also referred to as tape, soaker hose, drip hose, etc.) is a practical and economical accessory to Blumat Watering Systems, and can also be used in combination with flow controllers to configure EasySoak systems.
Sustainable Village found a need for drip tape while transitioning from home growers to the commercial cultivation market. Irrigating raised beds and large areas of square footage using Blumat sensors can be extremely expensive as well as high-maintenance. However, they’re also extremely high-performing systems.
BluSoak drip tape is a tyvek-like material–it’s a semi-permable membrane that allows for the passage of fluids under pressure.
In order to compromise between extreme performance and high cost, BluSoak drip tape was introduced as a component to extend the watering ability and distribution of each Blumat sensor.
BluSoak drip tape is the perfect solution to gardens with high square footage and/or canopy space that want to utilize Blumat technology. BluSoak tape systems are ideal for garden beds, raised beds, and other large volumes of soil or growing media.
BluSoak and some other drip tapes are materials with micropores. These tape materials are used to evenly distribute water and nutrient solution over soil or other growing media.
In general, a pressurized or pumped water source is fed into a manifold of tape across row crops. Flow controllers and/or timers are used to control the volume of water going into each row or field.
Blumat systems use BluSoak tape to implement this same concept on a smaller scale. Flow controllers and timers are replaced by Blumat sensors, which regulate the flow into each container, bed, or area.
For an in-depth look at EasySoak systems, check out this article.
BluSoak tape is capable not only of emitting water and nutrient solution through its micropores, but can also emit air! This makes it an ideal solution to aerating compost tea, reservoirs, Aquaponic systems and/or fish ponds, and more.
Use with Blumat Systems
BluSoak drip tape is used to extend the watering ability of each Blumat sensor, and can evenly distribute moisture and/or nutrient solution over a much larger area than a standalone Blumat.
The Blumat sensor delivers water based on plant demand, feeding water and/or nutrients from a pressurized water source into a length or lengths of tape. The Tropf Blumat does the sensing flow-rate-regulating, while the BluSoak drip tape
There are three general concepts of Blumat/Blusoak designs or configuration. This article runs over them in detail.
They are configured for three variations, each a different balance of product cost vs. system performance.
Here’s a concept diagram of how the BluSoak tape works in tandem with a Tropf Blumat Sensor:
Adapters Used with Blumat Systems
3mm x Tape
These adapters are used to connect BluSoak to 3mm tubing (the tubing that runs through each Blumat sensor). These are used in economy and mid-range designs.
8mm x Tape
These adapters are used to connect BluSoak to 8mm tubing. Generally, this is reddish superflex tubing used in the double-manifold designs.
This adapter is used to combine two sections of tape into a single section.
Tape Coupler w/ Valve
This adapter combines two sections of tape into a single section, but has a valve that can partially or completely stop flow.
End Flush Plug
This adapter is used to end a section of tape. They are used in economy designs.
Ideal Placement for Irrigation
BluSoak can be placed anywhere in concept, as long as each length of tape (or lengths in a manifold design) are level or on less than a 1% grade.
That being said, the tape can be buried for sub-surface irrigating purposes, and some BluSoak used in this way has been used for 20+ years with success!
However, the absolute best results I have personally seen in BluSoak systems are when the tape is placed directly on the soil surface, and then insulated with several inches of mulch (straw is generally preferred, but I’ve seen all kinds of materials used with success).
This picture really highlights the beautiful harmony achieved between living soil and BluSoak systems:
When placed on the soil surface and insulated with mulch, BluSoak tape encourages all matter of benefical fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms that positively benefit living soil. Read more about benefits to living soil here.
Use for Aeration
While it is lesser known, BluSoak tape can also be used as “BluAir.” This tape can emit air or gases through its micropores, keeping reservoirs, ponds, or any other liquid aerated.
We use a length of tape in a bottom of a bucket in our Compost Tea Bubbler Kits.
General Advice & Guidance
- BluSoak tape must be level, or on a grade of less than 1% to function properly
- BluSoak requires under 10PSI to function. Anything over that will burst the tape (use Pressure Reducers!)
- BluSoak tape is 5/8″ diameter (use 5/8″ tape fittings)
- Getting pinhole leaks in your tape? Insects and/or rodents are likely culprits. You can use a tape coupler to repair the damaged sections, but you’ll likely want to address the root cause.
- Is your tape splitting along the seams? Contact Sustainable Village.
- BluSoak Drip Tape
- Tape x 3mm Adapter
- Tape x 8mm Adapter
- Tape End Plug
- Tape Valve
- Tape Coupler
- 3mm Tubing
- Distribution Dripper
- 8mm Tubing
- Blumat Pressure Reducer
- Flow Controllers
- How to Design/Configure a Blumat System from Pressure
- How to Design/Configure a Blumat System from Gravity
- BluSoak Drip Tape vs. Distribution Drippers
- Guide to Blumat & BluSoak Container Kits
- 5 Steps to an EasySoak System
- How to Calculate BluSoak Flow Rates
- 5 Ways Blumat (and BluSoak) Benefits Living Soil
- 5 Beginner Mistakes Using Blumat Systems