It was basically a game of “Find My Growroom.” I was in Las Vegas covering the lively, underground grow scene. On this particular evening, I was being led through the low-slung, ranch-style house of a local grower. He was eager to show me his operation and kept repeating: “I’ve got a surprise for you.”

So here I was, standing in his garage. He folded his arms smugly and dared me: “Find my growroom.” I looked around at the ordinary, somewhat cluttered space. Shelves lined the walls of the garage, all stocked with the everyday, household items you’d expect to find. I was stumped. There was no growroom here.

It looked like a normal garage -- cluttered with household items.

Everyone has seen movies that feature a haunted house or a mad genius or an eccentric billionaire who’s just been murdered. In these motion pictures, there's usually a scene where a detective or an unsuspecting dupe pushes a secret button and a wall rotates exposing hidden treasures or dastardly secrets. That’s exactly what I encountered.

A hidden latch allowed the shelf to swing open.

The grower walked over to the stepladder leaning against the shelf and put it aside. Then, he released a hidden latch causing the entire shelf to slowly swing open, revealing a door installed in dry-wall. Behind the door, two compact rooms – one for veg and one for flowering – were in operation.

Just a sliver of space had been used for the grow op.

The garden had been constructed using just a sliver of the entire garage space. The shelves, which lined its three walls, gave the illusion that the entire square footage was being fully utilized for storage. In fact, Las Vegas cops had even visited once following a break-in. Both the police – and the long-gone burglar – never discovered the secret garage garden.

A clever grower can produce great crops in the most unlikely spaces.