Building a Basement Garden

Have you always dreamed of having your own vegetable garden, but are sparse on space? You may want to consider building a basement garden. But before you get started, peruse the recent advice from on collecting the highest return on investment for your veggie patch.

First, note that a single industrial grow light retailing for about $300 would be required to convert a clear 80 square foot basement area into a greenhouse space. A grow light that size uses 1,000 watts of energy – so running it 12 hours a day for 3 months equates to 1,080 hours of use.  That will cost you between $120 and $150 per season.

Seeds could be as cheap as $3 per growing session, assuming that you’re not using heirlooms, in which case there would be a one-time cost of $4 or $5, according to All told the space, energy and supplies are estimated to run $1,640, or $164 per season for the first 10 years.


To give some perspective, that means each season if you just grow one item – say 800 pounds of tomatoes – this would yield a cost per pound of about 20 cents, compared to the retail cost of about $3 a pound.

Now comes the clincher – time. It could take as much as 100 hours per season to maintain this type of garden, or more based on the diversity of your plantings.

And if you don’t have an outlet for your harvests, you may incur more time and costs for canning supplies or other types of processing.



  1. Interesting idea! Would be nice if that basement is somewhere where the sunlight can reach the plants

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