Nowadays, everyone wants to grow their own vegetables, but nobody has the space for a dedicated garden.
You might have found yourself staring at your garage, wondering if you could turn part of it into a greenhouse or grow room.
Transforming your garage into a thriving greenhouse isn’t a far-fetched dream.
It’s much easier than you think.
In this article, we’ll give you a roadmap to turn part of your garage into green space. We’ll walk you through the process, beginning with creating the perfect layout. Then we’ll discuss what plants and containers are suitable for your new indoor garden.
As you can guess, lighting plays a crucial role in the success of any indoor green space. You may already have an idea whether you want fluorescent, LED, or HID lights, but we’ll shed light on the pros and cons of each (pun intended).
So if you’re itching to swap your cluttered garage for a serene green escape, you’re in the right place.
Let’s get started.
Choosing the Best Location for Your Garage Greenhouse
Anyone in real estate will tell you: it’s all about location.
Choosing the right location for your garage greenhouse or grow room can make all the difference.
Say Hello to Your Dream Garage
Tired of feeling overwhelmed every time you walk in your garage? Our FREE Beginner's Guide to Garage Organization can help you transform your garage into a space you can be proud of.
What should you look for?
Several factors will affect your plant’s health, so consider each when planning your space.
Let’s start with the obvious one: the availability of natural light. Many indoor gardeners supplement with grow lights. However, natural sunlight will significantly benefit your plants and reduce electricity costs.
If possible, choose a part of your garage with windows or install a greenhouse skylight to maximize sunlight exposure.
Next, you’ll want to think about temperature regulation.
Garages can be prone to significant temperature fluctuations, which can harm plants. Try to select a location in your garage that stays consistently cool or warm, depending on your local climate and the type of plants you plan to grow.
You may need to invest in a garage heater or portable air conditioner to help maintain optimal conditions.
Ventilation is also critical.
Proper airflow can help prevent plant diseases and promote healthy growth. Consider placing your grow room or greenhouse near a window or vent that can be opened or installing a fan to circulate air.
Finally, think about the overall layout and traffic flow in your garage.
You still need enough room to move around your plants easily. Your grow room or greenhouse shouldn’t restrict you from using your garage for other purposes.
Depending on how much space you have, this may require some creative space planning or rearrangement.
It’s worth taking some time to plan out your grow room, which will help create an environment where both you and your plants will thrive.
Garage Grow Room or Greenhouse?
Whether you’re an avid gardener wanting to extend your growing season or a novice just starting with plants, portable greenhouses and shelf-based grow rooms offer unique benefits for plant growth.
Let’s take a look at each:
Grow Room on Garage Shelves
A shelf-based grow room is any indoor growing system where plants are organized on shelves or trays. They’re often used for year-round indoor plant cultivation, seed starting, or for plants that require controlled environmental conditions.
This system includes the shelves (often a metal or plastic shelving unit), custom grow lights to provide the plants with energy, and occasionally a heating system or fans to manage temperature and air circulation.
One of the primary advantages of a shelf-based grow room is the level of control you have over the environment. Light, temperature, and humidity can be carefully controlled, leading to optimal growth conditions year-round, regardless of the outdoor climate.
Grow rooms are particularly good for cultivating seedlings, growing plants requiring specific conditions not easily met in your local environment, or indoor-only plants.
However, they require more equipment and setup than portable greenhouses. Not to mention, electricity costs can add up due to the lighting and temperature control systems.
- Saves floor space: By using your walls, you’re maximizing floor space, which could be handy for storage or more plants!
- Easy to install and customize: These systems are straightforward to install, and you can easily rearrange shelves and hooks as your needs change.
- Affordable and versatile: Wall-mounted shelving systems come in various price points and styles, so you’ll likely find one that fits your budget and aesthetic.
- Light and heat limitations: Even with LED grow lights, some sun-loving plants might not get enough light, and heat distribution might not be as efficient.
- Maintenance needs: Plants on shelves may require more frequent watering and monitoring, particularly if they’re high up.
- Weight restrictions: Shelving systems might not be the best fit for larger or heavier plants, like a giant tomato plant or a fruit tree.
Freestanding Greenhouse or Tent
A portable greenhouse is the most versatile solution to start growing plants on a larger scale. It protects your plants from harsh weather conditions while providing a warm, nurturing environment for new plant growth.
They are available in various sizes, from compact designs for balconies or small gardens to larger structures that house numerous plants.
As you might imagine, plants are exposed to sunlight filtering through the greenhouse’s clear or semi-transparent cover. This helps trap heat and humidity, promoting growth.
It’s ideal for starting seeds, hardening off plants before transplanting them, or extending the growing season for certain fruits, vegetables, or flowers.
Portable greenhouses can be easily relocated, allowing you to take advantage of changing sunlight conditions throughout the year. However, adequately securing them is essential to prevent them from being blown over in high winds.
If you have the additional space, a freestanding greenhouse kit or tent might be the way to go.
- Controlled environment: A freestanding greenhouse allows you to control the conditions more precisely, meaning happier, healthier plants.
- More variety and quantity: Because you’re essentially creating a microclimate, you can grow a wider range of plants and more of them!
- Flexibility: If you decide later that you need that space back or want to move the greenhouse to another spot, you can.
- Space hog: Unlike the wall-mounted shelves, a freestanding greenhouse will take up floor space, which might cramp your storage options.
- Cost and effort: These kits can be pricier than other options and require more effort to assemble. But hey, you’re not afraid of a bit of DIY, are you?
- Maintenance: The enclosed environment means you’ll need to closely monitor your plant’s health and clean the greenhouse regularly to prevent pests and diseases.
Whether you choose a wall-mounted shelving system or a freestanding greenhouse kit, the important thing is that it works for you and your plants.
Just remember, every plant parent starts somewhere, and every garage has the potential to be transformed into a lush, green oasis.
How to Choose Lighting for Your Garage Greenhouse or Grow Room
Choosing the proper lighting for your garage greenhouse can make the difference between a flourishing garden and a wilting one.
Plants need light to create food. Some plants can be very particular about how much and what kind of light they need.
Let’s dive into three primary types of lights: fluorescent, LED, and high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps.
Fluorescent lights are a popular choice for many gardeners.
They work by passing an electric current through a tube containing mercury vapor, which then emits ultraviolet light. That excites a phosphor coating on the inside of the tube, producing visible light.
- Low cost and easy installation: Fluorescent lights are affordable and easy to set up. Perfect for those starting on a budget.
- Low heat and energy consumption: They produce minimal heat, reducing the risk of scorching your plants.
- Suitable for certain plants: Seedlings, herbs, and leafy greens generally do well under fluorescent lighting.
- Low light intensity: These lights are not as intense as some other options, meaning they may not penetrate deeply enough to reach all parts of larger plants.
- Limited spectrum and color range: While adequate for some plants, they may not provide the full spectrum required for more exotic types.
- Short lifespan: They tend to have a shorter lifespan than some other lighting options, meaning more frequent replacement.
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. They work by passing an electric current through a semiconductor material, which emits light. They’re much more energy efficient than fluorescent lights.
- High light intensity and penetration: LED lights provide intense light, which is great for larger plants.
- Broad spectrum and color range: They can provide a full spectrum of light, mimicking natural sunlight.
- Long lifespan and low maintenance: LEDs last much longer than other lights, meaning less maintenance.
- High initial cost and installation complexity: LEDs can be expensive to buy initially and may require more complex installation.
- High heat output: Although more energy-efficient, they can emit a lot of heat, which can harm plants if not managed well.
- Not suitable for all plants: Some plants may not respond as well to LED light, primarily if they are used at incorrect stages of growth.
High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lights operate by creating an electric arc between tungsten electrodes, producing bright, intense light.
- Very high light intensity and penetration: HID lights provide extremely intense light, perfect for larger plants or those needing a lot of light.
- Ideal for certain growth stages: They’re perfect for flowering and fruiting plants.
- Different types available: HIDs come in different types, like Metal Halide (MH) and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS), giving you options based on your plant’s needs.
- High initial cost and energy consumption: HID lights can be pricey to purchase and run. They’re not the most energy-efficient option.
- High heat output and fire risk: They generate a lot of heat, so proper ventilation and heat management are crucial.
- Extra equipment needed: You’ll need ballasts, reflectors, and timers for an HID setup
Choosing the Right Plants for Your Garage Greenhouse
Alright, you’ve decided on your setup. Now comes the fun part: selecting the plants and containers.
Let’s consider a few key factors to ensure your garage greenhouse flourishes.
When choosing plants, consider their preferred light, heat, and humidity levels. Some plants adore the sun, while others favor shade. Likewise, certain plants need more heat or humidity than others. It’s about finding the right plants for your garage conditions.
The size and growth rate of plants also matter. Large plants or fast growers might not be the best fit if you have limited space. Also, think about companionability. Some plants get along well together, helping each other grow, while others can inhibit each other’s growth.
Now, for some examples.
For beginners, herbs like basil, mint, rosemary, and thyme are perfect. They’re pretty forgiving, and nothing beats the satisfaction of cooking with herbs you’ve grown yourself.
Another great option is leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, kale, and arugula. They’re quick to grow and packed full of nutrients.
Consider flowers like marigolds, petunias, geraniums, and begonias if you’re after color. They’ll add a pop of vibrancy to your garage.
And if you’re up for a challenge, try vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and beans. It’s more work, but the rewards are worth it.
Now, onto containers.
Size and shape are the first considerations. Bigger plants will need larger containers, and some plants prefer shallow or deep pots.
Material and drainage are also crucial. Many pots are made of plastic, clay, or ceramic, each with pros and cons. Plastic is lightweight and retains moisture well, but it may not last as long. Clay and ceramic pots are durable and offer better airflow, but they can be heavy and expensive. Whatever you choose, ensure your pot has good drainage to prevent soggy roots.
Portability and durability are the final factors. If you plan on moving your plants around, choose lightweight pots. And if you want your pots to last, opt for durable materials.
Choosing the right plants and containers for your garage greenhouse can be a process of trial and error.
But remember, the goal is to make your garage a place you’re proud to show off. With patience and care, you’ll soon have a garage greenhouse that’s not just good enough but downright impressive.
Wrapping It Up
Remember, the key to a successful garage greenhouse begins with the proper location and layout. Consider the amount of light, ventilation, and insulation available in your garage.
A shelving system can easily turn into your garage grow room to save space. On the other hand, a freestanding greenhouse kit or tent can accommodate more plants and offer a more controlled environment.
Consider the trade-off in terms of floor space and potentially higher cost.
Finally, let there be light – but the right kind of light.
Proper lighting plays a pivotal role in your plants’ health and growth. Fluorescent, LED and HID lights have pros and cons, and the right choice depends on your plants, budget, and energy efficiency needs.
So go and green up that garage. It might take some time and planning, but with this guide, you’re well on your way to owning a garage greenhouse that you’re proud to show off to your friends.