How To Grow Vegetables In A Closet [It’s Easy To Do]

Today I want to talk to you about how to grow vegetables in a closet.  I want to go over what you need to do to set it up for success.

Today I want to talk to you about how to grow vegetables in a closet.  I want to go over what you need to do to set it up for success.

Growing vegetables in a closet is easy but you must set up your closet correctly to be successful.

How To Grow Vegetables In A Closet

The two most important factors you need to have in place to grow vegetables in a closet are proper ventilation and enough light.

Do this and your closet grow will thrive. Neglect them and most likely you will fail. So, let’s talk about how to set up your closet for success.

If you watched the video the first thing you probably noticed is the walls are white.

They are covered with white plastic. This is called panda film and it is white on one side and black on the other. This plastic will reflect light back to your plants.

Alternatively, you can paint the walls of your closet with flat white paint. Either way you do it, it will make your light work more efficiently.

There also is a drip irrigation system in my closet and I will cover it in another video.

But let’s talk about setting up a basic closet. What you see in the video is a wardrobe closet and it’s two feet wide by eight feet long.

Your closet may be smaller or larger, but your grow closet setup will need to use the same basic principles.

Providing Air Circulation For Grow Closets

The first thing you need to provide is good air circulation. So, I have a tower fan in here that oscillates back and forth and blows air across the plants.

You can also use a fan that mounts on the wall. I have another small fan on the opposite wall too.

The important thing is that you have air movement across the entire area where your veggies will grow. But you dont want to blast them with air. You want a gentle breeze across your closet.

So, you will need fresh air coming in your closet.  It can come in passively from under a door or you can keep a door slightly cracked open.

But you need to get fresh air entering in there because plants need co2 to grow.

If your closet doesn’t get fresh air your veggies will use up all the co2 inside your closet and then they’ll stop growing.

So, it’s very important to have air coming into your closet.

Installing Your Exhaust Fan Is Critical

It is very important you have an exhaust fan in your closet. You absolutely need this so dont try to grow without one.

For a closet like mine, you want a fan that takes 6 inch ducting. In a smaller space you could get by with a 4 inch fan. But it isn’t a bad idea to use a larger fan anyway.

Here is a good exhaust fan I use. It is a 4 inch model. It is made by AC Infinity. It is quiet and has adjustable fan speed.

AC Infinity CLOUDLINE S4

Now my fan is hooked up to a carbon filter, but if you’re growing vegetables, you don’t need the filter. But you do need the fan!

The fan will pull out the hot air and the extra humidity that the plants make and help keep temperature and humidity in your closet under control.

More importantly it will also create negative air pressure inside your closet. Nature hates a vacuum so fresh air will rush in to even the pressure.

Venting Your Exhaust Fan

Hang the fan up near the top of your closet where the most heat will be.

Using a length of flexible ducting you can exhaust your fan right out into your house, and it’ll give you some extra heat in the wintertime.

Point the end towards the door opening and secure it. Leave your door open a crack and you’ll be good to go.

You can also cut a hole in the wall to vent it outside or into a crawl space or into an attic. But I think most people are not going to want to cut a hole in their wall.

However you do it, you do definitely need to exhaust the intake the fan. Remember too, it is going to pull air in.

So the exhaust fan really works as the lungs of your closet.

Adding LED Grow Lights

The main thing you need for growing vegetables in a closet is also the most expensive thing.

It is going be your lights. And you need good lights. I’m not going to tell you to go out and buy HLG lights like the ones I am using.

They’re probably the best money can buy but they’re expensive. You know when you’re growing a high value crop like cannabis you can afford to spend more money on a light.

But if you’re growing lettuce you can find a good grow light for your vegetables for a lot less money.

I have 2 LED lights hanging in my 2′ x 8′ closet. More on them in a minute.

Adding Trellis Netting (Optional)

You will also notice there is a trellis between the lights and the totes below.

It is optional and I hung it with light hangers so I can adjust its height. I’m going to grow tomatoes in here and they could get tall.

When they do I will just put the branches through the netting for support. Otherwise, the weight of the fruit may break the branches.

Now you may not need this but generally when you’re growing plants if you can spread the branches out they’ll get more light.

Back To LED Lights

I have two LEDs in here because of the length of my closet. If your closet is between 2-4 feet you will probably only need one. 

The one on the left is a HLG 300R L it puts out about 280 watts.

The one on the right is a bigger light. It’s a HLG 600R it puts out about 580 watts. It is dimmed down to half power because you can give a plant too much light.

Technically it could light this whole closet, but the problem is, as you get further away from the light the lighting output drops.

So even though it’s got plenty of light it’s limited in the amount of area it can cover.

In a closet like this which is two feet wide the width isn’t a problem. But it’s eight feet long and you can’t cover that with just one light.

Recommended Closet Grow Light

As we speak, I am awaiting on a Spider Farmer 2000 which I’m going to be testing in one of my hydroponic grows and you’ll get a review of it.

Spider Farmer 2000

And that’s probably what I’d recommend for most of you. It is also about half the price of the HLG lights I am using. 

It puts out 200 watts of full spectrum light and has some added red spectrum to improve flowering.

And it can easily cover a 2×4 area for high light plants or a 3×6 foot area for smaller seedlings and plants like lettuce or herbs.

So that’s really the most important thing you’re going to need for a closet.

Here is a link to the Spider Farmer 2000 LED I talked about in the video.

How Much Light Do I Need?

You will need about 30 to 35 watts per square foot. Now it is important to note that when you buy a LED light that’s watts it pulls from the wall.

A lot of manufacturers give you a number and it’s not accurate. So whatever LED you by, you need to check the specs and see how many watts it pulls from the wall.

Then figure out your square footage multiply it by 30 or 35 that’s how much light you’re going to need if it’s full on.

If you buy a bigger one and it has a dimmer you can turn it down
like the 600R I have on the other side of my closet.

Put Your Lights On A Timer

The lights are run on a timer, and I run my lights for 12 hours. 12 hours on 12 hours off. It doesn’t matter what time they go on or off. I just want to make sure they have at least 12 hours of uninterrupted light.

You can run them longer than 12 hours, but I would not run them for any less time.

You know, I am originally an old cannabis grower. So 12 hours is what you use for flower and 18 hours is what you use for veg(seedlings and young plants).

But because LED lights provide an intense complete light spectrum you can grow with just 12 hours of light, and it’ll save you some money on electricity.

I would grow high light plants like tomatoes and peppers in here because they need a lot of light.

That doesn’t mean you couldn’t put some lettuce in. Lettuce only needs about half the light tomatoes or peppers need.

Because light levels drop the further you get from a LED, you can have your high light plants up top but a low light plant like lettuce can be grown lower down beneath them.

Measuring Temperature

I have a temperature and humidity gauge, but this just measures the air temperature and humidity.

Really, when you have plants in there, it’s the leaf surface temperature that you want to know. For that you can use one of these cheap $20 heat guns that you can buy on Amazon.

The ideal leaf surface temperature for plants under LED lights is 80 degrees. They will grow best at that temperature. Lower temperatures will slow growth. Temperatures above 83 degrees should be avoided.

Watering Your Vegetables In A Grow Closet

This a basic setup with the exception of my top feed drip system. I will cover that in another article.

You can set up drip irrigation for your vegetables or you can grow them in pots and hand water them.

But you’re going to need some kind of a tray to catch the runoff from them.

In my closet I have two 40 gallon totes and i cut them down because they were kind of tall.

However, you use any size tub or tote, depending on the size of your closet. It might only be one tote, or it might be two for a larger closet.

I have a waffle grid that i put in underneath my plants. Mine is made from seed flats but eggcrate is also a good option. 

The reason for using that is because most of these totes have a flat bottom which means they don’t drain that well.

You don’t want your plants sitting in water after they have been watered and you always want to water until there is some runoff.

My particular system is a recirculating system. The water comes out through the manifold and drip lines and goes into the pots.

Then in the bottom of the tote there’s a drain where it drains back into my reservoir. Most of the runoff is removed. The rest sits under the waffle grid I put in. My plants sit high and dry on top of it.

If you are going to hand water, you dont want your plants sitting in water so you will need to remove the runoff.

It’s really your choice whether to automate watering or water by hand. Both will work, but plants do better when they’re watered consistently at a set time every day.

They’re a lot like people. They get habitual and expect their food and their water at the same time every day.

In here i am running grow stones and this is a hydroponic medium that requires frequent watering. So, this system is set up with a pump on a timer, so it is automated.

You can also run soil, or you can run cocoa and either can be hand watered or used with automated watering. But they will need to be watered less often.

Even if you’re just going to hand water your pots, whether they sit in a saucer or they’re going to sit in a tray(recommended), you’re going to need to remove the extra water from the tray.

Some people use a shop vac and vacuum it out, but you don’t want standing water in the trays.

It will grow algae if left in and it will not be good for your plant’s roots. They need moisture but they also need to get air and if the roots are submerged in water, they’re not getting air.

How To Grow Vegetables In A Closet Final Thoughts

That’s pretty much what you need to do to grow vegetables in a closet or really anything in a closet.

I started out growing cannabis because I’m a medical marijuana patient. But as i get more and more into growing vegetables indoors, I’m looking at changing over some of my stuff to grow hydroponic vegetables and i really like hydroponic over conventional growing.

That’s because it can be automated, and the plants grow faster and yield more.

Now cocoa is considered a hydroponic medium by some, but soil is a whole different animal. I would recommend using coco over a peat based soil mix.

If you’re going to do cocoa know that it holds water really well but also stays aerated.  You won’t need to water it as much, but you want to keep it moist for best results.

Also, a great thing about cocoa is that you can use half the pot size that you would need if you were using soil.

Growing Vegetables In Coco Coir Get Amazing Results

So, you can definitely grow vegetables in a closet. It’s a bit more
work but definitely worth it.

Some of the pluses are your vegetable grow out of sight out of mind so to speak.

Also, you know you don’t have these really bright lights shining out in your living room.

You can close the door or leave it a crack open, and you get really good environmental control as opposed to trying to balance what’s going on in your whole apartment or house.

So finally, if you have a closet and you’re looking for a place to grow vegetables that’s a good place to do it.

In case you would rather use a grow tent instead of a closet here is an article that will help:

Using A Grow Tent For Vegetables [ Ultimate Quick-start Guide ]