Revolutionizing Agriculture: Growing Oranges Without Heating Costs in Extreme Conditions


In the realm of permaculture and sustainable agriculture, the pursuit of modifying microclimates for optimal plant growth has led to extraordinary stories of innovation.

Among these, the remarkable journey of Russ Finch stands out—a man who cultivates oranges in his Nebraska backyard greenhouse without incurring heating costs, even in temperatures plummeting to -20°F.

Diverse Plant Varieties

Finch’s greenhouse is not limited to oranges; it hosts a diverse array of plant life.

From nine varieties of grapes and thirteen types of citrus, including mandarins, to figs, pomegranates, and blackberries, the greenhouse showcases the potential for growing a wide range of crops.

Additionally, Finch is pioneering aquaponic and hydroponic systems for the sustainable production of lettuces.

Operating in Extreme Conditions

Nebraska’s harsh climate poses significant challenges, with freezing temperatures that could deter most agricultural endeavors.

However, Finch ingeniously utilizes the earth’s stable temperature, around 52 degrees in his region, to grow warm-weather produce even amidst the snow.

Synergistic Permaculture Principles

At the heart of Finch’s success lies the application of permaculture principles—specifically, the art of combining different elements in synergy.

His greenhouse design seamlessly integrates free resources such as the earth’s stable temperature and abundant sunlight, showcasing a harmonious relationship with the environment.

Geothermal Heating Discovery

Finch’s journey began in 1979 when he discovered the concept of geothermal heating to cut energy costs in his home.

Nearly two decades later, he extended this idea to create a greenhouse.

The greenhouse, resembling a pit greenhouse or walipini, utilizes warm underground air and plastic tubing to avoid traditional heating systems during cold Nebraska nights.

Cost-Effective Greenhouse Design

What makes Finch’s approach even more revolutionary is its cost-effectiveness.

He claims that building a market-producing greenhouse akin to his can cost around $25,000, a fraction of the price of traditional heating systems.

This affordability opens new possibilities for aspiring farmers who may find traditional agriculture costs prohibitive.

Organic and Local Agriculture

Finch is a staunch advocate for organic farming, considering it the only sensible way forward.

He emphasizes the significance of local produce, viewing it as a more substantial selling point than organic certification.

In a world increasingly concerned about sustainability, his approach aligns with the principles of responsible agriculture.

Embark on a journey with Russ Finch as he unveils the miraculous geothermal greenhouse, defying winter to grow citrus and a bounty of produce. Discover the secrets of sustainable gardening and witness nature’s resilience in action!

Call to Action

For those intrigued by Finch’s groundbreaking approach, this YouTube video provides a detailed guide on building a geothermal greenhouse.

Additionally, exploring aquaponic systems offers a pathway to producing and selling local, organic, chemical-free, and nutrient-rich food.


Russ Finch’s story is a testament to the boundless possibilities of sustainable agriculture.

By combining innovative technologies, permaculture design principles, and a commitment to organic and local farming, he has paved the way for a future where growing oranges in extreme conditions is not only feasible but also economically viable.

His journey inspires us to explore new frontiers in agriculture, embracing practices that prioritize both the health of our planet and the well-being of its inhabitants.

And be sure to share this Blog post to inspire your friends and family!

Interested in building your greenhouse or want more details?

Visit our page for specific information on constructing resilient and sustainable structures.

Giuseppe Tallarico

Discover how Giuseppe Tallarico, an agronomist dissatisfied with office life, transformed his passion for nature into a regenerative revolution. Leaving behind a career in the corporate sector, Giuseppe followed his heart towards permaculture. His transformation from a professional in quality and environmental fields to an innovator in regenerative agriculture has been an inspiring journey. Through founding the Urban Permaculture Laboratory and teaching, Giuseppe has created a lasting impact in the community and the world of permaculture. Join Giuseppe in his courses, consultancy work, and innovative projects to explore how you too can make a difference. Discover his blog articles, evoking images, sounds, and emotions, immersing you in the world of regenerative agriculture. Unlock Sustainable Solutions with Giuseppe Tallarico - Explore Here!