What’s a walipini? Simply put, a walipini is an “underground” garden. The idea is to dig six to eight feet down, erect a translucent plastic roof, and let your plants enjoy a gentler climate than they could if they were above ground. The name comes from an Aymara Indian word for a "place of warmth.”
A gardener must plan their walipini carefully before digging. Ideally, it will face south. Drainage and soil quality must be taken into account, too.
Don’t be fooled by my authoritative tone. Though my mother grew enough food to feed an army, I somehow managed to make it to adulthood with no gardening skills whatsoever. Everything I know about walipinis, I learned in the past 3 minutes.
But I love to DREAM about growing my own vegetables, and the idea of a walipini is intriguing to me. I wonder if it would work here in the desert, where we contend not with snow but with scorching heat in the summer. Forget to water those tomato plants you carefully nurtured from seeds just ONE time, and they will be dead before you lay eyes on them again. (I CAN say that with authority).
If a walipini offers plants refuge from low temperatures in colder climates, would it provide a cooler environment for desert gardens?