· · ·

$300 underground greenhouse grows produce year-round, even in severe climates


With staggering food prices and shortages looming, there's no better time to grow your own produce. Sadly, most greenhouses are expensive to build and impractical to heat during cold, wintery conditions. Thankfully, a solution is found with the Walipini. Developed for South American mountainous regions over twenty years ago, it allows edibles to be grown year-round – even in the most inhospitable weather. As an added bonus, it's also outrageously inexpensive to construct.

Unlimited growing season

Known as a pit or underground greenhouse, the Walipini utilizes the advantages of passive solar heating along with earth sheltering properties. The structure makes use of thermal mass energy, creating a highly efficient and cost effective method for heating the interior. Regardless of where you live, produce can be grown year round with the Walipini. According to the creators at the Benson Institute:

"The Walipini, in simplest terms, is a rectangular hole in the ground 6' to 8' 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."

The Institute continues with an explanation of how the earth acts like a battery, storing heat during the day while releasing it during cooler nighttime temperatures:

"Energy and light from the sun enter the Walipini through the plastic covered roof and are reflected and absorbed throughout the underground structure. By using translucent material, plastic instead of glass, plant growth is improved as certain rays of the light spectrum that inhibit plant growth are filtered out. The sun's rays provide both heat and light needed by plants. Heat is not only immediately provided as the light enters and heats the air, but heat is also stored as the mass of the entire building absorbs heat from the sun's rays."

The estimated building cost (using volunteer labor) for a 20 x 74 foot Walipini in La Paz, Peru is between $250 – $300. Taking advantage of inexpensive materials like PVC pipes and ultraviolet (UV) protective plastic sheeting add to the savings.

A detailed do-it-yourself building manual can be found here and includes crucial instructions for ventilation, waterproofing and drainage.

Sources for this article include:


Republished from NaturalNews
Written by Carolanne Wright

About the author: Carolanne enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision. 

Featured image credit: BensonInstitute

If you value what we do here, open your ad-free account and support our journalism.


Producing content you read on this website takes a lot of time, effort, and hard work. If you value what we do here, select the level of your support and register your account.

Your support makes this project fully self-sustainable and keeps us independent and focused on the content we love to create and share.

All our supporters can browse the website without ads, allowing much faster speeds and a clean interface. Your comments will be instantly approved and you’ll have a direct line of communication with us from within your account dashboard. You can suggest new features and apps and you’ll be able to use them before they go live.

You can choose the level of your support.

Stay kind, vigilant and ready!

$5 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Instant comments
  • Direct communication
  • New features and apps suggestions
  • Early access to new apps and features

$50 /year

$10 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Instant comments
  • Direct communication
  • New features and apps suggestions
  • Early access to new apps and features

$100 /year

$25 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Instant comments
  • Direct communication
  • New features and apps suggestions
  • Early access to new apps and features

$200 /year

You can also support us by sending us a one-off payment using PayPal:


  1. I had a tabletop hydroponic vegetable garden going this summer. My nine pepper plants had already produced five grocery bags full of peppers and my five tomato plants had over 150 green tomatoes on them with several dozen more flowers on their upper branches when our backyard got hit by a microburst Thursday afternoon. An 80 mph wind gust blew everything right off my patio, including both tables that weighed over 500 lbs each, and now I am still hoping to salvage 7 of the 9 pepper plants but but probably only 2 or 3 of my tomato plants will survive. An entire summer of work destroyed in a few seconds. I will have to rebuild the irrigation system and try to replant the tomato survivors. Two tomato plants that were 5 feet tall were broken right off at their inch-thick bases, nothing I could do to save them. An underground garden would be much less subject to high wind damage but how do you dig a hole that large for only $300? Here I would have to hire someone with a backhoe.

  2. Hi! You mentioned health problems, go to http://www.mygroundedmovie.com and you might find some really good earth grounding health help with the use of your greenhouse. Best of luck to you. I also read the Ringing Cedars series of books, and this also gives good reason why we need these greenhouses. Hope to be putting one together myself, as living in northern Canada has it's seasonal growing limitations.

  3. I have an underground greenhouse, built it about 10 years ago, a bit more complicated, but is a wreck at the moment, needs a lot of work and could really use the help. ( also, very much like to think I can overcome some health issues )
    it's 50' long by 18'wide with raised beds. treated 4×4 posts in concrete 4' down hold up fence rails with 20' rebar perpendicular to fence rails. may end up putting 20' gal. weld. wire mesh on top covered with fiberglass. used clear pvc last time… bad choice.
    thank you carolanne, so much…my motivation has been renewed.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.