Year-Round Gardening with a Walipini !
Growers dealing with cold weather conditions use numerous methods to prolong the growing season, or to boost their crops. Such methods include using hoop houses, cold frames, and of course, greenhouses.
Greenhouses are mostly glazed complexes, and are generally costly to build and heat all winter long. A more economical and efficient approach to glass greenhouses is the walipini (meaning “place of warmth” in an Aymara Indian), sometimes referred to a pit or underground greenhouse.
A walipini is a greenhouse below ground reliant on a clear covering (typically plastic). It remains warm by absorbing heat from the sun. The walipini stays operational by soaking up the earth’s thermal energy.
Initially developed over 20 years ago for South America’s cold mountainous regions, walipinis allow growers to sustain a productive garden all year long, even in rigid climates.
What’s extraordinary about the walipini is that it mixes both earth-sheltered construction and passive solar heating. It uses the sun’s energy for cooling and heating to develop something that is both affordable and functional. This is much more economical to run than a traditional greenhouse.
The walipini taps into the earth’s thermal mass, so that significantly less energy is required to heat up the interior than an above-ground greenhouse. However, there are provisions to make involving drainage, waterproofing and ventilating. The walipini must also be aligned properly against the sun, which the manual goes over in detail.
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