How to Build an Underground Greenhouse to Grow Food Year-Round

The Walipini, or pit greenhouse is an underground greenhouse that offers a frontier technology for year-round gardening, particularly resourceful in places with climates that are not consistently favorable to traditional farming methods.
This breakthrough structure creates an artificial environment that fosters the growth of plants irrespective of outdoor temperature fluctuations by utilizing the Earth’s insulation properties. Here are some of the key benefits of this sustainable gardening option:

Advantages Of Underground Greenhouse:

Thermal Stability

Temperature consistency is one of the main advantages offered by underground greenhouses. The temperatures a few feet below the earth’s surface remain constant making a warm and stable habitat for plants regardless of weather conditions on top.

Protection from Elements

Located beneath ground level, these greenhouses offer better security against wind, snow, and hail among others. This barrier helps to significantly lower the chances of destroying both its plantations and structure hence providing a safer abode for diverse kinds of flora.

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Extended Growing Season

It means that gardeners and farmers can extend the growing season because this ground-based hothouse forms stable climatic conditions within them. Thus, fresh vegetables would always be available throughout each month including periods when no open-air planting is possible at all.


One greatest reason why underground greenhouses should be considered is their sustainability factor. Comparatively less additional heating power will be needed in these cases as compared to overground glasshouses due to natural insulation provided by soil. Consequently, it leads to lower energy consumption charges incurred in maintaining favorable cultivation conditions as well as a decreased carbon footprint during their operation.

The underground greenhouse concept defies possibilities in agriculture by offering resiliently eco-friendly solutions to challenges posed by inclement weather or ever-fluctuating climes. In doing so, growers will benefit from sustainable cultivation activities all through the year, thereby becoming worthy additions to modern landscape design frameworks.

2. Choosing Right Position:

Sunlight: It is important to choose the location that will receive the most sunlight. In the Northern Hemisphere, south-facing areas are best as they receive more sun while in the Southern Hemisphere, it is north-facing.

Water Drainage: For water not to accumulate inside, good drainage is necessary for the greenhouse. This can be done by constructing raised beds, and paths with gravel or drainage systems.

Accessibility: The greenhouse should always be reachable through every year for purposes of maintenance, planting, and harvesting.

3. Building an Underground Greenhouse:

a. Excavation:

Depth: Optimal depth is between 8-10ft as this takes advantage of natural insulating attributes of the earth; this may differ depending on your area’s frost line.

Width and Length: Size can vary depending on one’s preferences or available space; for example, a normal measurement would be 10×20 feet but this can change according to your particular requirements.

b. Walls:

The walls can either be made from sturdy material like stones, bricks or earthbags which may have to be reinforced using concrete if required.

The north wall should be heavily insulated so as to retain heat. Such insulation could include straw bales, foam insulation among other effective options for insulation materials.

c. Roofing:

Roofing should include UV resistant materials such as greenhouse plastic, polycarbonate panels or glass in order to make them last long and remain clear (for clarity).

To maximize sunlight exposure and enable easy drainage of rainwater and snow, the roof should be pitched.

d. Flooring:

In particular, it is recommended to make use of the gravel floor for its advantages in terms of draining water. Alternatively, you may want to consider using a concrete flooring or even a natural soil floor according to your wish.

e. Ventilation:

Because temperature and humidity are very important factors within greenhouses, proper ventilation is essential. This can involve putting vents or windows on the top parts or upper ends of sloping roofs that allow hot air to escape from the structure.

These doors also help in airflow as well as temperature regulation by allowing air movement through them at either end.

By following these guidelines you will be able to have an underground greenhouse that lengthens your growing season, protects plants from harsh weather conditions and offers more sustainable gardening options. Regardless if you’re just a hobbyist gardener or an industrial grower, an underground greenhouse can be a great addition to your arsenal of gardening tools providing a stable and productive environment for many different types of plants.

Efficient maintenance ensures that an underground greenhouse remains a viable place for year-round cultivation. Below are some ways to keep your walipini healthy along with further tips on how to optimize its usage and yield potential.

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4. Maintaining the Underground Greenhouse:

  • Monitoring: You need to consistently observe the temperature levels and humidity rates inside your house. With this instrument one is able to maintain conditions suitable for his/her plantations.
  • Pest Control: Since they differ from traditional greenhouses there could be specific pests attracted by such kind of environments like an underground greenhouse; therefore regular checks should be done so as not have either insects or animals infecting those plants hence pest control must rely on organic methods only if you want them look nice.
  • Watering: The level of humidity inside the greenhouse influences the watering requirements of the plants. Therefore, you should be aware of the amount and frequency that is essential for each type with excess water being dangerous as it may not have an outlet and this would affect the condition of your crop.

5. Additional Tips:

Water Barrels: You can strategically locate water barrels inside your greenhouse to serve two purposes. They absorb heat during the day and release it slowly throughout the night, thus moderating temperature fluctuations.

Raised Beds: Raised beds incorporated in your underground greenhouse will improve drainage, and prevent water logging and root rotting. This way you will also be able to control soil health and promote plant wellbeing.

Reflective Surfaces: It will be very useful if reflective materials are used on the inner walls of a greenhouse; such practice greatly enhances even distribution of light across all corners so that no part remains shaded at any single instant hence giving some energy back to plants especially in winter when days are shorter.


An underground greenhouse is an excellent way to keep gardening for the entire year, even if you are living in a place with harsh climatic conditions.

Although constructing and managing a walipini may require some initial effort and capital, its benefits in terms of a continuous supply of fresh vegetables over the off-season cannot be compared.

Frequent servicing, effective pest control strategies, and smart watering practices will help you create ideal conditions for your plants.

Moreover, incorporating such well-thought-out ideas as water drums, raised beds as well as reflective surfaces would go a long way to escalate the effectiveness and productivity levels of your underground greenhouse. Therefore, welcome into subterranean planting and enjoy plenty of farm-fresh produce all year round.

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1 thought on “How to Build an Underground Greenhouse to Grow Food Year-Round”

  1. What is the temperature difference between outside and inside the walipini? We have several weeks every winter where the temperatures do not get above zero and night time temps are -20°-30°. What could I expect the temps inside the walipini to be?


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