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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Same Thing We Do Every Night Pinky. . .

Project! Project Alert!

For a few years now, husband and I have planed and plotted and dreamed of building a Walipini (link is a pdf.) aka a pit greenhouse.

Average temperature the ground stays is 50F, that means you only need to get another 30 degrees to reach perfect growing temperatures for the majority of plants. A Walipini means no weeds, no bad weather, it has it's own water collecting system, as well as a ventilation system that can be opened and closed to allow bees access. Bannies can be placed in there to help control insect problems and fertilize. A family of 7 needs about 900 sq feet to feed themselves all year round in one of these. We have some plans on improving the space inside of it.

oh I can't wait.

The picture above is a whole lot of windows and sliding glass doors. A friend of ours installs them, and we get all the ones he pulls out.

What we will be doing, is digging a 4foot + deep hole, reserving the top soil for later, and using the other dirt to berm it to 8ft. The glass will be the pitched roof set at a certain angle to utilize the winter solstice and decrease the summer's. Bridge planks will be used (you know those old wooden bridges?) to create the walls, almost like they do in mines. We plan on using tiers for the cool weather items, and creating adobe type pots that can be placed high on the walls to allow vine plants, like cucumbers, to crawl down the walls. The floor will be set at a slight angle, allowing moisture to drain into a french drain.

We will be creating a miniature one here at the homestead. And hopefully convince my mother and step-father to allow us to create a full size one at the farmstead. NO WEEDING MOTHER!!!
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Simple. said...

That looks AWESOME. I do not understand why this PDF has all of its drawings oriented to the North when it's made in Utah, which is in the Northern hemisphere and thus the Walipini should be oriented south-ward. Either way, it's awesome.

It would be really great (if you don't have a cellar already) to have a door into a side-room off the main underground greenhouse for a cellar, since you're already digging in for a space you'll visit frequently all winter.

Phelan said...

I don't know why they would be facing north. It has to face south here as well.

A cellar is in the plans with it as well. Husband is drawing everything out, and as soon as he has it I will be happy to post it in all it's detailed glory.

Phelan said...

oops, it isn't in Utah, the drawings are in south America. The University is in Utah, but the it greenhouse was built south of the Equator

Bob from Athens said...

The plans say that plastic is better than glass because it inhibits some of the harmful rays from the sun. I realize that you are geting the windows for free, however plastic is relatively inexpensive and unbreakable during hail storms. Is there another reason you have chosen to use glass? Also how are you going to compensate for the four inches of dead air space in the ceiling. I am very anxious to see how this turns out. I agree that a root cellar connected would be a great addition. I am seriously considering how to make one of my own.

Phelan said...

Bob, actually I did do a lot of research, glass vs plastic. Glass windows (house windows) do not allow damaging UV rays to penetrate. The pitching of the roof and the tempered aspects of the glass will help with hail problems. We are also looking at elevated hail screen.

The plastic, which we have tried out in the past, doesn't withstand the microbursts that we suffer here. Plastic quickly fails without the proper wind blocks.

I will have to ask my husband about the dead space issue. This is his baby, and he is the engineer. As I told Simple, as soon as he has it all plotted down on paper, I will happily post it for you.

HermitJim said...

Sounds like a pretty good idea to me. I'll be watching for further developments!

Janelle said...

sounds awesome!!! Can't wait to see it finished :)

Phelan said...

BOB, husband says this;

Materials are rated with R factors. Plastic is thin, cold can penetrate, this plastic is a very low rating while glass at the same scale is rated almost at double. In order to get a thermal barrier the gape between them has to be greater and air tight. So with the plastic you need a greater area in order to do the same job as a higher rated material fully sealed closer together. Its like cardboard verses plywood.

The "dead" space is a buffer zone.

Dictated, not read ;)

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