Introduction to Pit Greenhouses
Previous Post Next Post

Introduction to Pit Greenhouses

If you're a gardener or a horticulturist, you've probably heard of pit type greenhouses. These unique structures are a popular choice for those who want to grow crops in harsh weather conditions or on top of otherwise unusable land. In this blog post, we'll discuss everything there is to know about pit type greenhouses – what they are, how they work, and why you should consider using one for your gardening needs. So whether you're a novice or an experienced gardener, keep reading to learn more about these amazing structures!

1. Understanding Pit Greenhouses: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Pit greenhouses, also known as underground greenhouses or Walipinis, are a unique way of growing plants in a controlled environment. These greenhouses are built below the natural ground level and are partially or wholly covered with earth. They are designed to use the natural insulation provided by soil and are known for their exceptional energy efficiency. The construction of a pit greenhouse can vary, but most are basic yet functional structures requiring minimal maintenance. These greenhouses work by trapping the sun's heat during the day, which is stored in the earth's thermal mass. This provides a consistent temperature throughout the day and night, making it easier to grow plants year-round. Understanding the basics of how pit greenhouses work is the first step in deciding whether or not to build one.

2. Energy Efficiency: The Benefits of Pit Greenhouses

Pit greenhouses are incredibly energy efficient, which is one of the major benefits of owning one. As they are built partially below the ground, they use the earth to heat and cool the space naturally, reducing energy costs and allowing you to grow plants year-round. Additionally, passive-solar greenhouses, like the DWG, rely on the sun's energy to heat the structure instead of traditional methods. However, it is important to consider factors such as waterproofing, drainage, and ventilation to ensure optimal efficiency. The most effective pit greenhouses have south-facing windows to maximize solar gain. Utilizing a pit greenhouse can improve your production and economic output while reducing your environmental impact. So, if you want to be more sustainable and save money on energy costs, a pit greenhouse may be the perfect solution.

3. Designing Your Pit Greenhouse: Factors to Consider

When it comes to designing a pit greenhouse, there are various factors to consider that will ultimately affect the success of your growing venture. It is essential to keep in mind the amount of space you will need for your chosen crops, the environment you want to create, and the materials and resources available to you. Ventilation, drainage, and insulation are also essential factors to consider in order to maintain a sustainable and efficient pit greenhouse. It is also important to choose plants and crops suitable for the humidity levels and temperature control of your pit greenhouse. By carefully considering these factors, you can design a pit greenhouse that will be efficient, productive, and sustainable for years to come.

4. Building a Pit Greenhouse: Step-by-Step Guide

Building a pit greenhouse is both a cost-effective and sustainable way to grow fresh produce all year round. After determining the size and location of the pit greenhouse, the next step is to dig a 4-foot-deep hole outside the designated 12-by-24-foot rectangle, with most of the dirt piled on the north side. Then, create a sloping entryway for easy access. The walls of the pit greenhouse act as a battery that releases heat at night, providing natural warmth to the plants from five sides. The benefits of pit greenhouses include energy efficiency and extended growing seasons. In following the step-by-step guide provided in the previous sections, one can easily build their own DIY pit greenhouse and start growing a variety of crops. Maintaining the greenhouse by ensuring sufficient ventilation and appropriate watering is essential. Pit greenhouses are a great option for those who want to lessen their environmental impact and enjoy fresh, homegrown produce.

5. Pit vs. Walpini Greenhouses: Which One is Right for You?

There are two main types to consider when it comes to underground or pit greenhouses: the pit greenhouse and the walipini greenhouse. While both are dug into the ground and covered with glazing, some key differences may make one a better fit for you over the other.

A pit greenhouse is typically made with local stone and is designed to be partially underground. It relies on the ground's natural insulation to keep the space warm, and may require additional heating in colder climates. However, they are often easier and cheaper to build than walipini greenhouses.

On the other hand, a walipini greenhouse is fully underground with a sloping glazing surface facing the sun. It uses passive solar principles to maintain a stable temperature, making it much more energy efficient than a pit greenhouse. However, building a walipini can be more challenging and expensive.

Ultimately, the decision between a pit or walipini greenhouse will depend on your climate, budget, and personal preferences. You may want to consider factors such as the cost and availability of materials, the amount of sunlight your location receives, and the types of crops you plan to grow. By considering these factors carefully, you can choose the right type of greenhouse to meet your needs and help you grow year-round.

6. Choosing the Right Crops for Your Pit Greenhouse

After understanding the benefits and designing and building a pit greenhouse, choosing the right crops to produce the best yield is crucial. Pit greenhouses are ideal for growing a wide array of crops, from vegetables to flowers. However, it's important to consider the climate conditions, natural light exposure, and soil quality when selecting crops. For instance, root vegetables like carrots, beets, and potatoes thrive in cooler temperatures and don't require much sunlight. On the other hand, leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and kale require an abundance of sunlight and can tolerate warmer temperatures. Also, certain herbs like basil and cilantro can grow well in a pit greenhouse's moist environment. Once the appropriate crops are selected, maintaining a consistent temperature, moisture, and ventilation level is crucial for a successful harvest.

7. Maintaining Your Pit Greenhouse: Tips and Tricks

Once you have built your pit greenhouse and selected the right crops, it's up to you to maintain it properly. Keeping it clean is the first step, but there are other tips and tricks to ensure your greenhouse is healthy and thriving. Proper ventilation is key, as it will prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria and fungi. Additionally, it's essential to regularly check the soil and water pH levels to ensure they are within the optimal range for your crops. Consider investing in a water filtration system to prevent any contaminants in your irrigation water. Lastly, keeping pests under control is imperative. Regularly inspect your plants for any signs of infestation, and use natural pest control methods to avoid harsh chemicals. By following these tips and tricks, you can keep your pit greenhouse healthy and sustainable for years to come.

8. Troubleshooting Common Pit Greenhouse Problems

In any greenhouse, problems are bound to arise. Pit greenhouses are no exception. However, most common problems with pit greenhouses can be remedied with some simple troubleshooting. For example, poor ventilation and excessive humidity are often caused by overwatering or inadequate airflow. Installing fans and ensuring proper drainage can help solve these issues. Pests such as fungus gnats, shore flies, and bloodworms are another common issue, but using sticky traps and practicing good sanitation can help minimize their impact. Additionally, diseases can be introduced into the greenhouse through infected plants or soil, so it’s important to quarantine new plants before introducing them into the space. With a little bit of know-how, these common problems can be easily troubleshoot, allowing for a productive and thriving pit greenhouse.

9. Pit Greenhouses and Sustainability: A Look at the Environmental Impact

When it comes to sustainability, pit greenhouses can have a positive impact on the environment. As discussed earlier in this blog, pit greenhouses are extremely energy efficient, reducing energy costs and nurturing plants year-round. This means less reliance on non-renewable energy sources and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the design of pit greenhouses allows for better temperature control, reducing the need for heating or cooling systems that can also contribute to environmental harm. Choosing the right crops for your pit greenhouse can also make a difference, as growing your own food sustainably can reduce the reliance on food transportation and packaging. Of course, sustainability is not just about the design and operation of your greenhouse but also about the materials used and the overall environmental impact. When building a pit greenhouse, using sustainable building materials and reducing waste can further enhance the sustainability of this type of structure. By choosing a pit greenhouse, individuals can take a step towards growing their own food and nurturing the environment at the same time.

10. Conclusion: Is a Pit Greenhouse Right for You?

In conclusion, determining whether a pit greenhouse is right for you ultimately depends on your gardening goals, climate, and location. However, with its energy efficiency benefits and ability to extend the growing season, a pit greenhouse can be a valuable addition to any garden. In this guide, we've discussed the basics of pit greenhouses, the factors to consider when designing and building, and offered crop selection and maintenance tips. While some troubleshooting may involve, the rewards of a successful pit greenhouse are worth it. So, if you're looking to take your gardening to the next level, a pit greenhouse might be the solution for you.

Related Posts

Previous Post Next Post
Back to blog