How to Grow Vegetables in a Closet

How to Grow Vegetables in a Closet

How to Grow Vegetables in a Closet

Growing vegetables in a closet can seem challenging, but with some planning and creativity, it is possible to grow a productive indoor garden even in a small space. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to grow vegetables successfully in a closet.

Choosing the Right Vegetables

Not all vegetables are well-suited for closet growing. Focus on varieties that:

  • Are compact and bushy rather than vining varieties which require more horizontal space. Bush tomatoes, bush beans, bush cucumbers, and dwarf or patio varieties of squash and zucchini are good options.

  • Grow well in containers. Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, herbs like parsley, basil, and green onions are ideal.

  • Don’t require full sun and high light. Leafy greens, root crops like radishes and beets, and many herbs will grow well in lower light.

  • Have a relatively short growth cycle. Quick crops like radishes, baby greens, and green onions will allow you to harvest more frequently.

Providing Sufficient Light

Lack of adequate sunlight is one of the biggest challenges with closet growing. Consider these lighting options:

  • LED grow lights provide full spectrum light plants need. Place on adjustable shelves above plants.

  • Fluorescent tube lights are an affordable option. Use daylight or full spectrum bulbs. Position 4-6 inches above plants.

  • Reflective materials like mylar or white paint will maximize existing light in the closet. Line walls and shelves.

  • A supplemental window light shelf can allow more natural light if a window is nearby.

Install Shelving and Use Vertical Space

  • Take advantage of vertical space by installing shelves and hanging racks at different heights for your containers.

  • Make sure shelves are adjustable or can be moved to allow resizing planting space.

  • Use aeroponic, hanging or wall mounted planters to add extra vertical growing space.

  • Install full spectrum LED grow lights under each shelf.

Use Appropriate Containers

  • Prioritize compact containers like half barrel planters or 5-10 gallon grow bags on shelves.

  • Use tall, narrow containers for rooted vegetables to conserve space. 5-gallon buckets or woven planter bags work well.

  • Install vertical systems like hanging pockets or aeroponic column systems for leafy greens and herbs.

  • Make sure containers have drainage holes to prevent overwatering.

Provide Adequate Ventilation

Closets are confined, so good airflow is crucial:

  • Keep closet doors open when possible or install louvered doors.

  • Use small clip on fans to circulate air around plants.

  • Install vents near the top and bottom of the closet if possible.

  • Control humidity with small dehumidifiers to prevent mold and disease.

Care and Maintenance

Caring for your closet garden takes diligence:

  • Inspect plants daily for signs of pests or disease. Isolate and treat any affected plants promptly.

  • Check soil moisture frequently, especially with shelving setups. Drying out can happen quickly.

  • Prune and trellis plants like tomatoes to encourage upright, compact growth.

  • Clean grow lights regularly to maintain full intensity output.

Start Small and Expand

Begin with just a few easy crops like greens and herbs to get a feel for closet growing. As you gain experience, try expanding with more challenging veggies like tomatoes and peppers. With the right plant choices and setup, a closet can produce an impressive vegetable harvest!