Walipini Greenhouse How-to

Walipini Greenhouse How-to

Walipini Greenhouse: What You Need to Know

If you’re looking to grow a variety of vegetables, fruits, and herbs year-round, a walipini greenhouse may just be the answer to your gardening needs. Nicknamed the “underground greenhouse”, a walipini is an incredibly effective and efficient way of growing food with minimal maintenance and expense.

What is a Walipini?

The walipini is a greenhouse that is dug into the earth, sometimes up to 6 feet deep (though this size is not essential). It’s often built into a slope with the wide end facing south, which allows for natural capture of the sun’s heat and ultraviolet rays. Because it’s built into the earth, it also maintains a consistent temperature, unlike open-air greenhouses. This helps make it a popular choice for growing in regions with cooler climates.

Benefits of Building a Walipini Greenhouse

  • Lower energy costs. Your walipini will maintain a consistent temperate without the need of expensive heating systems.
  • Less need for insects and pest control. Due to the enclosed nature of the walipini, you can reduce the impact of harmful insects and pests.
  • Shorten your growing season. With a walipini, you can begin planting earlier in spring time, and harvest well into the cold winter months.

How to Build a Walipini Greenhouse

  1. Choose a location. Ideally your walipini should be built on south-facing land that slopes towards the sun for the best exposure.
  2. Dig the pit. Measure and dig your hole for the trench, making sure to leave around 6 feet at the highest end. Line the trench with concrete blocks.
  3. Install framing. Place long poles around the perimeter of your trench, then attach metal or wooden frames for support. Make sure to seal any openings with plastic sheeting.
  4. Cover and insulate. Cover the frame with plastic sheeting to protect your plants from the sun’s rays. Line the walls with additional insulation.
  5. Install your shelves. Install shelves for growing your plants and vegetables. You will also need to install vents and fans for air circulation.
  6. Add the final touches. Install gutters and downpipes along the sides of your walipini to capture rain and snow, and provide additional insulation.

Tips for Growing in a Walipini

  • Check your climate. It’s important to keep in mind the variance of temperatures when deciding what crops to grow in a walipini. Some plants are more sensitive to heat, and so may suffer from warmer climates.
  • Create the perfect environment. Keep an eye on the temperature and humidity levels, and make sure to water regularly and install fans or exhausts for adequate ventilation.
  • Mulch your crops. Mulching can help keep moisture in and maintain consistent temperatures.

With the right know-how and a bit of planning, you can create a beautiful and highly productive walipini greenhouse. Enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own food and experiencing nature’s bounty all year-round!

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