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Hi, I'm in the process of building my first aquaponics systems. I don't have any questions about that (yet)...But I'm wondering if any one has heard of an underground greenhouse, also called a wallipini? It's suppose to be very efficient for cold climates like we have here in Idaho. It's dug deep, like 8 feet. The recommended size is 8' x 12'. The idea is that if you're below the frost line, the temperature wont fall below 50-60 degrees F.....I saw this idea in the news paper (yes, there is still such a thing :D  )              Sorry the pics so blurry...

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Just my 2 cents- I've never built one, but I understand the concept. Be very aware of your soil type and your sloping (shoring) of the sides . You might consider getting a trained "competent person"  out to help. If not done properly, your walipini could turn into your grave when it caves in. PLEASE be careful. There is very little danger if done properly, but most online guidelines for building these structures don't talk about this. 

Got it! Thank you.

Deborah M Espie said:

Thank you Tim, I'm a heavy equipment operator for a large canal system, I am an expert when it comes to digging in dirt and how to stay safe in these types of conditions. I just need to understand the concept of the Walipini better. But you're absolutely right, these type of digs can totally bury you. Thanks again.

Tim Radcliff said:

Just my 2 cents- I've never built one, but I understand the concept. Be very aware of your soil type and your sloping (shoring) of the sides . You might consider getting a trained "competent person"  out to help. If not done properly, your walipini could turn into your grave when it caves in. PLEASE be careful. There is very little danger if done properly, but most online guidelines for building these structures don't talk about this. 

I am also in the process of building a Walipini. We are 7 feet down and just about to do a full measure. Looks like we are going to end up 25x50 feet. I've been scoping out cement companies to pour our foundation. It's been difficult learning as you go but also rewarding when you figure it out. I would like to pick your brain a bit during this process and share information.

happily, glad you are pouring concrete.

We are in a lot of rock, we are digging holes to set sonotube concrete forms for posts....

Awesome! I've only done research so far... The property I planned to put it on hasn't worked out... But I've got other plans and hope to start soon.

From what I've seen, a 2 foot deep, gravel floor helps with keeping the temperature where you need it.

Sorry it took so long for me to respond

Most recommend dirt walls... I'm going to pour some footings and pour cement walls....I'm going to place 3/4 to 1 inch pvc pipe around the snap ties to allow for the walls to breath (for lack of a better explanation) placing weed mat between the wall and the dirt to create a barrier.
Dig the hole wider than you need...sloping the dirt about 4-1 to give you plenty of room to safely install the forms to pour the walls.
...I hope this helps some.
Other things I've thought of is adding a solar powered box heater (lots of ideas on YouTube for this) a solar powered fan/vent to use in summer.(you can reverse the fan and hook this to the box heater in the winter)
~Michael~

I've gone with a passive solar greenhouse of sorts...Kind of a hybrid of a wallipini  and a passive solar greenhouse... I'll find out how well it works this winter!

Hi Deborah,

Just wondering how your greenhouse construction went.?

Deborah M Espie said:

I am planning on constructing one this summer. I am in northern NM at about 8400 feet. We have a very short growing season and alot of wind.

If you haven't seen it, this seems to provide very detailed information for construction. www.bensoninstitute.org/Publication/Manuals/Walipini.pdf
If you get alot of snow, I think the roof/covering will have to be re-considered, maybe. My background is with old wooden bar greenhouse construction.

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