Underground Walipini Pit Greenhouse Construction

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Here is an excellently written PDF document on how to build an underground Walipini pit greenhouse. These greenhouses are an excellent technique to use in arid Southwestern climates.

Click here to download the 29-page PDF document on “Constructing A Walipini Pit Underground Greenhouse.”

Deep appreciation is extended to the Benson Institute, which created the document. The Benson Institute was founded in 1975 at Brigham Young University as part of the College of Biological and Agricultural Sciences. It was named in honor of Ezra Taft Benson’s service as Secretary of Agriculture during the administration of United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Benson Institute strives to teach families in developing countries how to become nutritionally self-sufficient and how to improve their economic circumstances. Participants learn techniques for food production, nutrition, diet, and home food storage. Families learn to grow vegetables and fruits or raise small animals appropriate to their circumstances in order to better provide for themselves.

Find out more about the Benson Institute here.

(This article was originally published on August 26, 2014.)


The post Underground Walipini Pit Greenhouse Construction appeared first on The Grow Network.

Underground Greenhouse Produces Tomatoes Year-round (VIDEO)

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An underground greenhouse makes a lot of sense in the arid climate of New Mexico. I came across a super-effective and simple Walipini-inspired greenhouse that was homemade by Mark Irwin.

Check out this video where Mark shows you what he has been doing and how he is making a small side income by selling tomatoes to the Albuquerque market year-round.

I am a big proponent of lots of little side-income businesses. Diversity ensures there is always something coming in.

Note that I’ve put the reference Mark mentions down below the video.

Enjoy—and comment! We love to hear from you.

Here is the link to download the excellently written PDF on “Constructing A Walipini Pit Underground Greenhouse”


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(This post was originally published on August 4, 2017.)



The post Underground Greenhouse Produces Tomatoes Year-round (VIDEO) appeared first on The Grow Network.

DIY Hoop House: The Easy Greenhouse Alternative

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By popular demand, we’re offering our step-by-step, DIY Hoop House Plans — originally available only as part of TGN’s 2017 Home Grown Food Summit — for just $4.95

Click Here to Buy Today!

This is a short-term experiment … and please pardon the fact that our sales page is so crude. 🙂 But we got so many requests that we thought we would make this available as inexpensively as possible.


This is Marjory Wildcraft. On this edition of Homesteading Basics, I’m going to talk about the lessons I’ve learned from several years of operating a hoop house.

The Easy Greenhouse Alternative

This is a hoop house that’s about 12-feet wide by 48-feet long. If you need a big greenhouse quickly and economically, a hoop house is definitely the way to go. In fact, for me, it was super easy. I actually built this thing with one finger.

Yeah, I said to my husband, “Hon, I want a hoop house right there.” He built it. He’s really handy, and he loves it. Actually, I did help some. Anyway, it really is pretty quick to put up, and it’s very cost effective.

My DIY Hoop House Plan

There are a couple of things we’ve learned about it. We’re growing here in Central Texas, and we get extremes of heat and cold. In the summer, we get a lot of intense sun here. What we found works really well is using a 70 percent shade mesh in the summer months. It provides a good amount of shade, yet allows a breeze to go through. We are able to grow things really well inside the mesh-only greenhouse.

In the winter, just taking the mesh off and having plastic on is the best way to go. The plastic definitely keeps the greenhouse nice and warm. We are able to grow fabulous plants all winter long.

The main thing about this is it creates a pretty big maintenance issue twice a year.

In the spring, we’re taking the plastic off and putting the mesh on. Then, in the fall, we’re taking the mesh off and putting the plastic on. We did operate it for a while with both the plastic and mesh on in winter, and we found that it just doesn’t work that well.

That maintenance chore twice a year is going to take about four people for a greenhouse this size. That means we get the whole family involved with that chore.

But you can use a greenhouse for all seasons if you’re willing to do that kind of work.

Plans For A Summer vs. Winter Hoop House

My other concern is that the mesh seems to be holding up really well, but I’m not sure what the lifetime of the plastic is going to be. I think taking it off and putting it back on adds extra wear and tear to it, and it may not last as long as it would if we just kept it in place throughout the whole year. I’ve spoken with different operators of commercial greenhouses, and it seems the plastic lasts anywhere from one to three years according to the different farmers you talk to.

Personally, I feel that that’s a lot of waste. But it does seem to be effective, and that’s the way it is.

This is Marjory Wildcraft on operating a hoop house. Again, if you need a big greenhouse really quickly and fairly inexpensively, this is a good way to go. We’re going to be doing a lot more about greenhouses and growing in greenhouses on future episodes of Homesteading Basics.

Stay tuned. I’ll see you on another one.

(This article was originally published on January 30, 2017.)

The post DIY Hoop House: The Easy Greenhouse Alternative appeared first on The Grow Network.

Small Greenhouse Kit

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Small Greenhouse Kit The evolution from backyard gardener to greenhouse operator is a big one. It would seem that most of us are content with what we achieve in our raised beds from spring to fall. That being said, its impossible to deny that hole in your life when the fresh veggies, lettuces and fruits …

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The post Small Greenhouse Kit appeared first on SHTF Prepping & Homesteading Central.

(video) Underground Walipini Pit Greenhouses Produce Tomatoes Year Round

Click here to view the original post.

An underground greenhouse makes a lot of sense in arid climate of New Mexico. I came across a super effective and simple Walipini inspired greenhouse that was home made by Mark Irwin.

Check out this video where Mark shows you what he has been doing and how he is making a small side income by selling tomatoes to the Albuquerque market year round.

I am a big proponent of lots of little side income businesses. Diversity ensures there is always something coming in.

Note that I’ve put the references Mark mentions down below the video.

Enjoy – and comment! We love to hear from you.

Here is the link to download the excellently written pdf on “Constructing A Walipini Pit Underground Greenhouse”


Access our growing selection of Downloadable eBooks…

…. On topics that include growing your own food, herbal medicine, homesteading, raising livestock, and more!

Sign up for your FREE pass!


The post (video) Underground Walipini Pit Greenhouses Produce Tomatoes Year Round appeared first on The Grow Network.

How To Build an Underground Greenhouse (Multiple Designs!)

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How To Build an Underground Greenhouse (Multiple Designs!) Growing your own food isn’t difficult in the summer, but winter gardening is a lot more complicated. It is made infinitely easier when you have a space that is insulated from the elements. The below article shows many examples of people who have built underground Greenhouses, sometimes …

Continue reading »

The post How To Build an Underground Greenhouse (Multiple Designs!) appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.

How Much Food Can You Grow on 1/4 Acre?

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An Organic Mini-Farm on a Small Suburban Lot

How much food can you grow on a 1/4 acre lot? Not much, right… Maybe a small garden in the back yard… Think again!

A group of roommates in Austin decided to stretch their small suburban lot as far as they could. And you won’t believe how much food they’re producing…

In addition to replacing the lawn with garden beds, they worked in a couple of greenhouses with aquaponic systems, and a huge composting operation. They didn’t neglect the visual appeal of the yard, either. They worked in some evergreens and perennial landscaping to keep the yard looking nice for the neighbors. As you’ll see, they actually won their neighborhood association’s Yard of the Month award in 2014.

My favorite part of the video is when Michael says, “Our way of dealing with the squash vine borer… is to just replant.” That’s great! We hear so much about this particular pest and I’ve seen some pretty intricate attempts to control it. Some people insist on bringing in fresh soil. Others build physical barriers to keep the moths out. Still others inject Bt insecticide into their squash stems using hypodermic needles. Or, you could “just replant.” I love it when there’s a simple, natural solution for a complicated problem.

Micro-Farming as a Side Income

It looks like these folks are eating very well, and they’re generating a big surplus. They’re selling some of the produce they grow in a mini-CSA arrangement. And they sell their aquaponic herbs and greens directly to local restaurants.

This group had to be pretty resourceful to come up with the funds to bring this whole plan together. Between crowd-funding, grants, and partnerships with other local organizations, they were able to find all of the money they needed.

No doubt, some neighborhoods would not be as supportive as this one has been. In some places, you might attract some unwanted attention by building a farm in your front yard. But even if you have to keep your garden in the back yard, these guys might lend you a little inspiration about just how much food you can grow on a small plot of land.

You can learn more about Ten Acre Organics and co-founders Lloyd Minick and Michael Hanan here: Ten Acre Organics.


How To Grow Food During Winter in a Greenhouse

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This video demonstrates how you can grow during the winter in a 4 season greenhouse in Colorado.

Here are five more examples of cold climate greenhouses. Greenhouses are great for extending your growing season to 2, 3 or even 4 seasons.

For many colder climates a simple cold frame or high tunnel (or any of these 6 DIY greenhouse designs) can extend your season by weeks or even months in both the spring and the fall. Using warm beds and other techniques you can potentially grow food year round, depending on where you live.

The post How To Grow Food During Winter in a Greenhouse appeared first on Walden Labs.

10 Easy DIY Greenhouse Plans (They’re Free!)

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Building a greenhouse does not have to break your budget. There are cheap and easy to build greenhouse plans out there, and below you’ll find ten of them.

Also check out these 6 DIY greenhouse designs inspired by traditional shelters and these five northern greenhouse examples.

1. Build an Easy 5 x 5 Home Greenhouse for under $25

Cold frame greenhouse

free plan

2. How to build your own Recycled Plastic Bottle Greenhouse

Recycled bottle greenhouse

free plan

3. How To Build a Fold-Down Greenhouse

Fold down greenhouse

free plan

4. How to build My 50 Dollar Greenhouse

$50 greenhouse

free plan

5. Free step by step plans to build a barn style greenhouse!

Barn style greenhouse

free plan

6. My Homemade Greenhouse

Homemade greenhouse

free plan

7. CD Case Greenhouse Tutorial

CD case greenhouse

free plan

8. On the Farm: Building a DIY Greenhouse (For less than you think)

DIY greenhouse

free plan

9. How to Build a GeoDome Greenhouse

Geodome greenhouse

free plan

10. FREE plans for PVC pipe projects / Arched Greenhouse

PVC greenhouse

free plan

The post 10 Easy DIY Greenhouse Plans (They’re Free!) appeared first on Walden Labs.

This Innovative New Greenhouse Makes It Possible To Grow Crops Even In The Desert

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In regions that regularly experience high temperatures, frequent droughts, and severe dryness, farming is virtually impossible. Roots Up is a non-profit organization in Northern Ethiopia that strives to help Ethiopian farmers produce healthy crops in even the most undesirable weather conditions that the region is subjected to.

Roots Up greenhouse


The team has come up with an innovative, multifunctional greenhouse, the Root Up Greenhouse, that is capable of both growing food and producing water by working with an arid environment rather than against it.

During the hot hours of the day, hot air is trapped within greenhouse and the temperatures continue to rise. All of the heat causes water to evaporate creates a humid environment within the greenhouse atmosphere, providing an excellent grow environment for the plant life as well as maximizing the dew harvest.

Roots Up greenhouse

From evening until morning when the temperatures drop substantially, the top of the greenhouse can be opened allowing it to cool. Eventually, the greenhouse environment reaches dew point, at which point the atmospheric water vapor condenses into small droplets on the surface of the bio-plastic sheet where they drip into the container below, providing the farmer with clean water for drinking and irrigation.

H/T: The Mind Unleashed

The post This Innovative New Greenhouse Makes It Possible To Grow Crops Even In The Desert appeared first on Walden Labs.

$300 Underground Greenhouse Grows Food Year Round; An Extraordinary Walipini

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From vertical farms to solar-powered “farms from a box,” we’ve seen how farming technology has grown leaps and bounds in recent years. But for those who prefer something a little more rustic, growing food from a hole in the ground is as low-tech as you can get.

A walipini, meaning “place of warmth” from the Amaraya Indian language, is an underground greenhouse with a transparent (usually plastic) covering that stays warm by passively soaking up the sun’s heat and absorbing the earth’s thermal energy.

Underground greenhouse

This underground greenhouse collects the sun’s rays and earth’s heat to grow food Photo credit: schweibenalp.ch

Fruits and vegetables can be grown year-round, making it ideal for communities in colder locations that can’t usually grow their own fresh and local produce during certain parts of the year.

The farming method isn’t exactly new. Walipinis have been used in South and Central America for decades, including one that can grow bananas at 14,000 feet in the Andes.

The technique was notably adopted by The Benson Institute, a worldwide food security program of the Mormon church. According to The Plaid Zebra, the Benson Institute and its team of volunteers built a community-sized 74-feet-by-20-feet walipini in La Paz, Bolivia for around a mere $300.

The institute published a DIY manual on how to build such a structure. It explains:

The Walipini, in simplest terms, is a rectangular hole in the ground 6 to 8 feet 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 suns rays to penetrate creating a warm, stable environment for plant growth.

Minneapolis-based Seasons Unity Project builds walipinis and says these structures can be constructed in places with surface temperatures as cold as -10 degrees Fahrenheit and as few as four feet below ground level.


The walipini can be a low-cost and effective year-round greenhouse. Photo credit: Flickr

“Of course, many climates are too harsh for growing healthy vegetables, fruits, and herbs outside year-round. Rather than stopping at the apparent challenge or obstacle… [the structure] allows its caretaker to harvest, store, and deliver energy without generation or requirement of external energy or active energy input,” the Seasons Unity Project said.

This 4-minute clip features a farmer from the Comanche community in Bolivia. He explains how a walipini helps grow crops, such as potatoes and quinoa, even during the frosty and rainy winter from December to February.

It’s a new system for us. We can rescue the heat, and with that heat we can make a good production and we also save water,” he says. “With a walipini…we can produce not only fodder (for animals), we can produce food for all the people who live here.

A walipini is also great for places like The Netherlands, which also cold weather spells. A volunteer farming group there called Creative Garden Wageningen is working on its own walipini, dubbed the Sunken Greenhouse that will house lemons, strawberries, peppers, and a variety of beans and herbs, as you can see in the video in the beginning of this article.

Impressively, the structure’s inside beam is a living willow tree. Additionally, the grounds outside have plots for plants such as beans, pumpkins, onions and more. The roof covering was made with donated landfill plastic.

“We made it ourselves for very little if no money at all using leftover and donated materials,” uploader Ben Green wrote.

He added that their walipini now has a reciprocal roof, “one of the few in the world to have such a roof.”

Interested in building your own underground greenhouse? Here are 5 things you should know:

Walipini Infographic

Note: Cost of construction is relative.  Supplies required are quite inexpensive. Many off gridders provide their own labor and are extensively resourceful. If you plan to throw money at it and see it built, a $300.00 solution isn’t for you. If you require a backhoe rental to dig, and someone to run it, the costs will be sizeably more. I might suggest an in-between solution.  I was once offered a job as a 16 year old: 50 cents per wheelbarrow full.  The homeowner saved a lot of money, and I made $12 per hour in a time where $4.00 was a typical job for a 16 year old.  I learned a work ethic that carried through my entire life.  Many lessons can be gathered from such a project.

Originally published on Ecowatch.com

The post $300 Underground Greenhouse Grows Food Year Round; An Extraordinary Walipini appeared first on Walden Labs.

Automated Greenhouses!

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Automated Greenhouses!
Brett Bauma “Makers On Acres

GreenhousesOn this broadcast of Makers On Acres Technology, Build, and Grow Show we discuss automated greenhouses and how we can take a simple idea of sheltering plants, and turn it into a year around food producing machine.
Bringing in small technologies like the Arduino micro controllers and other sensors, we can advance our control over the plants and greenhouse environment, therefore increasing our production and freeing up time in our schedules.

GreenhousesBasic technologies like the Arduino micro controller and other systems of similar designs are an affordable solution that allows anyone the ability to develop their own systems and create a solution tailored to their unique situation. Many of these systems are open source and there are vast communities and forums available to help the new users on how to program and design their systems.

One very important factor in the design and build of our automated greenhouse is planning and purposing space correctly so that we can maximize every square inch of the greenhouse. Currently aquaponics is on the rise, and rightfully so as it is a wonderful system, but we must also plan in other systems as well. The old saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a great one for greenhouse design on a homestead or farm. If you are building a system to provide food for you and your family, you must “Hedge your bets” and diversify your growing systems. Relying solely on one system can be disastrous if that system fails. Creating multiple systems can not only provide different results, but also provide opportunity for different crops and a more vast selection of food for you and your family.

We will dive into different systems, technologies, plants, building techniques and more. We hope you will tune in and join our discussion as we dive into the world of greenhouse food production.
Makers On Acres:
Website: http://makersonacres.com/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfkZhs93uti9GNWBwB0zkNw
Join us for Makers On Acres “LIVE SHOW” every Saturday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat

Listen to this broadcast or download “Automated Greenhouses” in player below!

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The post Automated Greenhouses! appeared first on The Prepper Broadcasting Network.

A Cheap and Easy Way to Extend Your Growing Season

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Want to eat fresh home grown greens all winter long? This video shows a cheap and easy method for extending your growing season into the winter months.

This simple structure is a low tunnel. Low tunnels are called by different names in different regions. I’ve heard them referred to as a hoop houses, cloches, and cold frames. Those terms get the point across, but each each of them technically refers to something else. So for the sake of clarity, we’ll call this a low tunnel.

Components of a Low Tunnel

The structure is a simple series of hoops. I’ve seen people use PVC pipe, PVC electrical conduit, steel rebar, cattle panel, and flexible fiberglass rods (like tent poles). In my opinion, the best option is PVC – unless you have one of the other materials on hand already. A 10 foot length of 1/2 inch schedule 40 PVC pipe typically sells for under $1.50 – so it’s affordable. PVC electrical conduit is about the same cost, and it should last longer out in the elements.

My favorite method for securing the posts is driving a piece of rebar into the ground and fitting the PVC over the rebar, as is demonstrated in this video. (It’s comical to think that you could drive rebar 2 feet into the ground in my area – solid rock down there – we use pieces that are about 1 foot long, and we can usually get them about 8 inches deep.) I have also seen many people use pipe straps, screwed into the sides of their raised beds. I think the rebar method is better – especially if your beds are a few years old and the wood has started to break down. And, the rebar method can be done on any bed or row, even if there is no frame.

The final element is the cover, and this is where I’ve heard a lot of debate about which material is best…

Plastic versus Cloth as a Low Tunnel Cover

There are two common options: plastic or cloth.

Plastic sheeting allows light in to the plants, but it doesn’t allow for any air circulation or water penetration. Water may not be an issue if you’re protecting a bed that has drip irrigation installed. But because there is no air circulation – plastic is prone to overheating the tunnel on sunny winter days. If you use plastic, you need to remove or ventilate the tunnel appropriately to avoid smothering your plants with hot, humid air.

Cloth is a better option for air circulation, and water penetration. Floating row cover is a cloth material made of woven synthetic fibers that allows hot air out and allows water in – while providing insulation and light penetration similar to that of plastic film. In my relatively warm and dry climate, cloth row covers work very well for low tunnels. Be careful about using old sheets and blankets in wet weather – those can absorb water and they can actually cool the air as that water evaporates.

A couple of tips and pointers:

Climate: Take your climate into consideration when choosing the material you use to cover the tunnel. Where I live, I need to take advantage of every drop of rain that I get – so I use cloth instead of plastic. If you have abundant winter rains and you need to regulate the soil moisture – plastic might be a better option for you.
Integrity: If your low tunnel is very long, or if your garden gets a lot of wind in the winter – consider using an additional length of pipe across the top, length-wise, for structural integrity. Fix it to the hoops using twine or zip-ties – not pipe fittings.
Staples: In the video above, they staple the plastic to the raised bed frame. I would skip that step, and use rocks or bricks to weigh the plastic down instead. You’ll extend the life of the cover and make it easier to ventilate on warm days by avoiding the staples.
Lights: You can use a string of Christmas lights inside the tunnel for added warmth. If you do this, you will want to use the old school incandescent lights. The newer LEDs are more efficient, but they don’t offer much warmth. In this case, you want less efficient bulbs that use more energy, and generate more heat.
Survival Blankets: You can add a survival blanket on top of your cover for extra insulation on very cold nights. Face the shiny, aluminized side down – and remove the blanket to let the sun warm the soil again on the following day.

Check out this PDF from the Colorado Master Gardener Program and the Colorado State University Extension. They tested a low tunnel with 4-mil plastic sheeting, a survival blanket, and a 25 light string of C-7 Christmas lights. With all three of these measures in place, they consistently raised the temperature inside the tunnel between 18 to 30 degrees. You can read or download the PDF here: Frost Protection and Extending the Growing Season.

To see some more creative ways to add heat inside a structure during the winter, read these two great articles from our writing contest. This one is technical: Mad Scientist Works For Greenhouse Heating Independence Down To -25F, and this one is practical: Saving Heat in a Small Winter Hoop House.

If you want to eat fresh home grown greens this winter, but you don’t want to build a structure… Here’s a much smaller scale solution that you can put into place right on your kitchen counter: Grow Sprouts and Microgreens Indoors All Winter Long.

Thanks to Natalie Donnelly, John Garlisch, and Nissa Patterson of the New Mexico State University – Bernalillo County Extension Service, for the nice video.

Thanks to David Whiting, Carol O’Meara, and Carl Wilson of the Colorado State University Extension for the PDF Frost Protection and Extending the Growing Season. Their original post can be viewed here: CMG GardenNotes.