Keeping a vegetable garden in spring and summer is a great source of satisfaction. However is it possible to cultivate produce all year round, even during winter? The answer is “yes”, durable produce is possible throughout the seasons using the underground walipini greenhouse!
The word “walipini” comes from the Aymara language spoken in Bolivia, Peru and Chile as well as Argentina. Meaning a “warm place”, this underground greenhouse, which became popular during the 1990s in South America, is exactly that.
There are different types of walipini greenhouses which can vary in shape and size. However their one point in common is that each is situated below ground. A hole of at least 2.5 metres deep has to be dug in order to build this type of greenhouse. Next a transparent roof is installed made of plastic, glass or even a poly-carbonate tarpaulin sheet.
Cultivating all year round is the main goal – even in winter. With the ability to trap and store heat produced during the day, the walipini greenhouse can then use this heat overnight. The means that there is a constant temperature of around 10 to 15 °C in the greenhouse. Thanks to the stable thermal environment, plants are not subjected to great fluctuations in temperature. At the same time, as the structure is build underground, the greenhouse is protected from bad weather and extreme conditions.
However choosing the right location for the greenhouse is key. It is important to ensure that that the structure is well positioned in relation to the sun: the best position being south-facing. The angle of the roof is also crucial as well as a good ventilation system.
Walipini greenhouses are a part of tradition for the Comanche community in Bolivia. Find out more about these durable underground greenhouses in the report below.
Sources : Mother Earth News
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