DIY Walipini Underground Greenhouse

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In previous posts we have looked at various diy mini green houses and even a diy add on green house option. However, this type of green house is completely different. I am talking about the diy underground greenhouse.

Also known as a Walipini, and designed originally for the La Paz, Bolivia area. The word itself means ‘place of warmth’ in their local Aymara Indian language. This perfectly describes what this construction is essentially. It harnesses the sun’s energy and uses it to heat up and maintain a stable environment for plants to grow.

DIY Walipini Underground Greenhouse Plans
Photo credit:
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Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • polyethylene UV plastic
  • eucalyptus poles or PVC pipe
  • stones and gravel
  • 55 gallon oil drums
  • used doors
  • PVC rain gutter
  • wood screws or nails
  • hammer
  • hand drill
  • shovel
  • pick
  • saws
  • wheelbarrows
  • crowbars
  • measuring tape
  • stakes
  • utility knives
  • hose
  • hinged doors
  • overthrow or drain pipe

As this design was for people in a developing country, you can imagine that most of the materials that are used for construction are repurposed. Expect to part with a little hard labor when it comes to digging the 6 to 8 foot deep hole in the ground. They used eucalyptus poles, but you can pretty much use PVC pipe too or any other lumber.

How does it work? The longest area of the rectangle faces the winter sun to the south in the Northern Hemisphere. There is a thick wall of rammed earth at the back of the building and a much lower wall at the front that provides the needed angle for the plastic sheet roof. This roof seals the hole, providing an insulated airspace between the two layers of plastic (a sheet on the top and another on the bottom of the roof/poles) and allows the suns rays to penetrate creating a warm, stable environment for plant growth.

The advantage of digging this greenhouse into the ground is that you will require less heat to heat it up. The warmth of the soil or earth, will also help in keeping your greenhouse environment warm. Find a location that is at least five foot above your water level to prevent water from seeping in, and also make sure the outer walls are well built.

You can download full instructions on Better Farm blog, here…

DIY Walipini Greenhouse Plans

You can watch the video below on building a Walipini in Bolivia…

You can watch the video below on growing vegetables in a Walipini in Utah…


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