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Build a $300 underground greenhouse for year-round gardening (Video)

walipini-2.jpg.492x0_q85_crop-smart.jpg

© Neo-farms

Growers in colder climates often utilize various approaches to extend the growing season or to give their crops a boost, whether it's coldframes, hoop houses or greenhouses.

Greenhouses are usually glazed structures, but are typically expensive to construct and heat throughout the winter. A much more affordable and effective alternative to glass greenhouses is the walipini (an Aymara Indian word for a "place of warmth"), also known as an underground or pit greenhouse. First developed over 20 years ago for the cold mountainous regions of South America, this method allows growers to maintain a productive garden year-round, even in the coldest of climates.

Here's a video tour of a walipini that even incorporates a bit of interior space for goats:

How a Walipini works and how to build onewalipini3.jpg.492x0_q85_crop-smart.jpg

© Benson Institute

It's a pretty intriguing set-up that combines the principles of passive solar heating with earth-sheltered building. But how to make one?From American sustainable agriculture non-profit Benson Institute comes this enlightening manual on how a walipini works, and how to build it:

The Walipini utilizes nature’s resources to provide a warm, stable, well-lit environment for year-round vegetable production. Locating the growing area 6’- 8’ underground and capturing and storing daytime solar radiation are the most important principles in building a successful Walipini.

The Walipini, in simplest terms, is a rectangular hole in the ground 6 ‛ to 8’ deep covered by plastic sheeting. The longest area of the rectangle faces the winter sun -- to the north in the Southern Hemisphere and to the south in the Northern Hemisphere. A thick wall of rammed earth at the back of the building and a much lower wall at the front provide the needed angle for the plastic sheet roof. This roof seals the hole, provides an insulating airspace between the two layers of plastic (a sheet on the top and another on the bottom of the roof/poles) and allows the sun's rays to penetrate creating a warm, stable environment for plant growth.

walipini.jpeg.492x0_q85_crop-smart.jpg

SilverThunder/via

This earth-sheltered greenhouse taps into the thermal mass of the earth, so that much less energy is needed to heat up the walipini's interior than an aboveground greenhouse. Of course, there are precautions to take in waterproofing, drainage and ventilating the walipini, while aligning it properly to the sun -- which the manual covers in detail.

Best of all, according to the Benson Institute, their 20-foot by 74-foot walipni field model out in La Paz cost around $250 to $300 only, thanks to the use of free labour provided by owners and neighbours, and the use of cheaper materials like plastic ultraviolet (UV) protective sheeting and PVC piping.

Cheap but effective, the underground greenhouse is a great way for growers to produce food year-round in colder climates. More over at the Benson Institute and the Pure Energy Systems Wiki.

Tags: Agriculture | Do It Yourself | Food Security | Gardening | video

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lettuce, cabbage, carrots, squash  grew "just ok" in my buckled  bunker, that's it, everything else needed more light, or more heat, in our winter months. watering in the frozen weather presented issues also.

 

The soil did stay workable though, and I plan on non stop endeavors attempting to capture those rays and heat in the cold seasons. 

 

sola tubes are promising in an indoor grow so far, but they are very expensive. Imagine  a bunch of them showing their bubble at ground level ! 

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  • 2 months later...

What so special about this year?  We got cold, we got wind , we got ice,we got snow, we got potholes.

 

Nothin new under the Sun

 

.

If you were truely underground you would understand the difference between last year and this year. I think I already explained it. Calculate 6 degrees when it comes to desired reservoir temps and you will get a handle on cost.
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If you were truely underground you would understand the difference between last year and this year. I think I already explained it. Calculate 6 degrees when it comes to desired reservoir temps and you will get a handle on cost.

Hey...im on your side

 

I am truely Not underground.  We Run in the Sun

 

Above ground....think Natural Organic... lol

 

Are you 100% lights year round?.....no offence intended

Edited by beourbud
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It takes to much energy to provide enough light, heat, wind and water during winter months.to meet our

requirements.  We have found it much more efficient to put the plant into reveg during the winter.

 

What is the obsession with a year round grow (perpetual) ?  It is Not necessary to provide an uninterrupted supply

I cant imagine trying to even veg in the Sun this past month...your mileage may vary

 

Look at the first pic,   those people dont have snow!

 

This is a good op none the less for extending  the season for sure.

.

Edited by beourbud
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A big fat robin just landed on our deck. Time to get busy folks, the birds know it. The worms are calling.

 

Oh wow, I thought I was kinda loosing it as I heard a Robbin a few hours ago.

Naw, can't be so... it's too early!  It is true, I finally spotted it around back near the feeders!

Spring is officially here in 30 days.

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NO obsession here. My patients are promised an uninterrupted supply of fresh medical grade buds. I cannot legally store enough dried herb to carry my registry through to the springtime harvest. Some patients require more bud than others.

Because of this they agree to help me pay my indoor grow bills. I'm able to provide a vast variety of strains all year, without ever being "out" or over weight. When the laws change, I'll pimp the sun surely.

 

I know this point has been buggin you, I hope you understand it now. Legally stored winter weights < sufficient patient supply is the jist of it.

It takes to much energy to provide enough light, heat, wind and water during winter months.to meet our

requirements.  We have found it much more efficient to put the plant into reveg during the winter.

 

What is the obsession with a year round grow (perpetual) ?  It is Not necessary to provide an uninterrupted supply

I cant imagine trying to even veg in the Sun this past month...your mileage may vary

 

Look at the first pic,   those people dont have snow!

 

This is a good op none the less for extending  the season for sure.

.

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I know this point has been buggin you, I hope you understand it now. Legally stored winter weights < sufficient patient supply is the jist of it.

Actually it has been bugging you...and it should

 

Our model Is going to be the standard once the refer madness that stuck us in our basements to begin with is over

 

There is NO Way you can compete against Sun grown, 100% Organic.

 

Show me how my op is noncompliant.

 

We have already vetted this in our area....your math is wrong

 

Our counts and weights are right and there is always an uninterrupted supply..year round @ $20/oz to grow.

 

Buddy I think your model is obsolete, subpar and overpriced....what's to worry about?

 

Come on over I'll introduce you to the Tree of Knowledge

Edited by beourbud
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