Growing in a closet or in an entire room can be the easiest way to go because the structure is already built for you. The biggest challenge to growing in these gardens is finding a secure method to hang the lights, fans, and filters. The plaster ceilings in most houses were not designed to support very much weight. Make sure that you attach your lights and other ceiling-mounted equipment to the ceiling rafters or to brackets or a frame that is connected to the rafters.
You also need to block out all unwanted light sources such windows and/or door jams, sealing them completely so there are no light leaks during your garden’s dark cycle. One way to eliminate light leaks from a standard, inward-swinging door is to hang heavy, dark curtains across it on the inside that are at least a foot taller than the door and wider on both sides, and also a bit longer than needed so they bunch up on the floor. Windows should be completely covered with light-blocking material and taped all around to ensure that no light enters from their edges.
Next, add ventilation—both fresh air coming in and garden air going out. In a full room, adding air intake and exhaust vents can be tricky and lead to an unattractive result, such as installing a vent in the hallway or the closet door. Some people cut a board to fit into the window, bolt on an HVAC duct flange, and then use an air duct to run their exhaust out the window. Neither of these two options is aesthetically pleasing, and they can both tip off the location of your indoor garden (an important consideration if you’re trying to keep your garden in “stealth mode”).
The most effective way to provide intake and exhaust ventilation in a whole room or built-in closet is to take advantage of adjacent air spaces. Instead of installing darkroom louver vents in a door, take a look inside the closets. A common design element in suburban American homes is a built-in closet that is essentially a big empty box between bedrooms with an interior partition, and doors on either side facing into the two rooms. If a closet in your grow room shares a wall with a closet in the next room, consider drawing cool air in from the other room through darkroom louver vents installed in the wall between the two closets. Leave the closet doors open on both sides to ensure adequate air flow, and push the clothes in the closets out of the way of the vents.
Regardless of your intake air source, it’s important to exhaust the spent, heated air from your grow room out and away from your plants. If your grow room is in a one-story house or the upper floor of amulti-story home, consider cutting a hole through the ceiling of the room or closet into the home’s attic space and then hanging your exhaust fan near this hole and pushing the hot air out through an air duct that extends through the attic to a rooftop ventilation “whirlybird.” If your home already has an active attic exhaust system, you may be able to get away with simply exhausting into the attic.
Closet/Whole Room Pros:
• Simple, as most of the structure build out is already completed for you.
• When done right, these grow rooms can be very stealthy.
• Easy to secure by adding a lock(s).
• Easy to customize to your personal gardening style.
• Light leaks can be tough to seal, particularly at the entrance.
• May not be worth the physical modifications if living in rented or temporary housing
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