Midwestern geothermal greenhouse provides local citrus year round for $1 a day. Greenhouse in the Snow, built by a former mailman, grows an abundance of local produce high on the Nebraska plains.
"We can grow the best citrus in the world, right here on the high plains,” says Russ Finch, the former mailman (pictured above) who is the creative superstar genius responsible for building the Greenhouse in the Snow. And he can do it spending only $1 a day in energy costs. For Midwesterners (and many of the rest of us) produce in the winter means things imported form warmer climes or grown in greenhouses, which typically have a prodigious hunger for energy and are fed by burning fossil fuels. But by harnessing the Earth's natural internal heat to warm a greenhouse, oranges and other tropical treats thrive without the waste and pollution typically found in so much agriculture. As Grant Gerlock writes at NPR, the floor is dug 4 feet below the surface, the roof is slanted toward the south to harness as much sun as it can.
Watch the charming Mr. Underground Greenhouse Construction Manual. $300 Underground Greenhouse Grows Produce Year-Round, Even in Severe Climates. By Carolanne Wright Contributing Writer for Wake Up World 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. 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 Walipini, in simplest terms, is a rectangular hole in the ground 6′ to 8′ deep covered by plastic sheeting. 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: Sources for this article include: Previous articles by Carolanne: Build a $300 underground greenhouse for year-round gardening (Video)
Growers in colder climates often utilize various approaches to extend the growing season or to give their crops a boost, whether it's coldframes, hoop houses or greenhouses.
Greenhouses are usually glazed structures, but are typically expensive to construct and heat throughout the winter. A much more affordable and effective alternative to glass greenhouses is the walipini (an Aymara Indian word for a "place of warmth"), also known as an underground or pit greenhouse. First developed over 20 years ago for the cold mountainous regions of South America, this method allows growers to maintain a productive garden year-round, even in the coldest of climates. Here's a video tour of a walipini that shows what a basic version of this earth-sheltered solar greenhouse looks like inside: © Benson Institute It's a pretty intriguing set-up that combines the principles of passive solar heating with earth-sheltered building. SilverThunder/via. Amazon. $300 Underground Greenhouse Grows Food Year Round; An Extraordinary Walipini.
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. 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.