Garage to Grow House #2

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More progress pictures for this garage to vertical farm conversion. I’ve been steadily filling out the inside with everything a farm needs – grow racks, ventilation, lighting – and getting started planting. What are you missing in your farm? Click through to find out!

progress pictures from building a vertical farm

Here’s the last round of progress pictures so you can see where we’ve come from. Also, I’ve shared most of these pictures on my Instagram page and email list, so if you want to get early access, you should check me out there!

building hydroponic grow racks

Above is an inside look of how I built my grow racks. I made them out of wood so we could get custom sizing – they just don’t make affordable pallet racks in usable dimensions. These suckers were cheap and easy, and I’ll write up a step-by-step for these DIY hydroponic grow racks. They cost less than $100 each and take less than an hour to build.

One lesson learned here, based on feedback I’ve already gotten, is that wood, even if pressure treated, is not good for long term food grade use. It also increases the humidity in the space significantly. If I had more time to source or a larger budget, I would do this part differently.

testing how the LEDs would hang citrus mint

Here I was testing how my LEDs would hang. That scraggly plant on the shelf is a grapefruit mint I’d almost let die when it got cold (hard to believe a farmer could kill mint) that I’ve been nursing back to health. It’s doing really great now and I can’t wait to get clones going and into people’s bars.

first seed trays - fertil pots and compost

Once I got the grow racks setup, I did a celebratory seeding. This will turn into some delicious cinnamon basil. I’m using compost as the media and I’ll be talking about how I think that compost, oddly enough, is actually the future of hydroponics soon.

installing FarmTek ventilation fan

Here we are installing the main component of our ventilation system. We had to rearrange all the grow racks to make this work right (and those suckers are heavy, no deadlifts needed at the gym that day), but it’s the little details that will let you operate optimally.

This fan blows too! – it’s a greenhouse quality fan, that moves about 1000 square feet in a minute. (Compare to your bathroom fan of about 50 cfm) That’s a little hurricane in the farm. It’s going to help keep humidity and mold down, so spending a little extra on this model was worth it.

LEDs at night

I was setting my heat up one night when I noticed this view from the street. The LED lights cast an eerie glow through those doors I’m oh so proud of.

venntis co LED lights

Here’s a pre-installation shot of another LED type I’ll be testing. Make sure you stay involved and look out for updates from us – I’ll be doing a side by side comparison and test of three of the most popular LED lights used for indoor hydroponics and recording the results PLUS telling you which set I’m going to end up buying. More on that later.



5 thoughts on “Garage to Grow House #2

  1. Are you thinking of using the screw-in type, broad spectrum bulb from Total Grow? I use them over my seedling trays and they work pretty well. Not as PAR efficient in terms of coverage as CFL (with UVB like the Horti brand) or even a mix T-5 LED, but good for a couple 20×40 trays… IMHO.

    • Hey Brian – more info to come when I post on lighting for sure, but in short, it’s a broad spectrum with ppfd dialed in for a happy medium between microgreens and lettuce

  2. Hi Evan,

    Loving the project and eagerly awaiting more as this is something I am keen to build here in the U.K. Lighting has been one of my biggest headaches, due to a balance of affordability and running costs. I’ve built a prototype led cluster that cost me £11 with full spectrum diodes. I would be interested to see what lighting solution you go for. Wishing you continued success.

    • Thanks for the comment, Ian. That seems like a very good price compared to the options I’m testing. My eight footer LEDs finally arrived in the mail today and so I will be able to begin tests shortly.

  3. Pingback: Vertical Farm Progress Pictures #3 | The Urban Vertical Farming Project

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