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The crop growth stages of Tomato plants


The Farming skill is part of a system added to Project Zomboid in RC2.9. The player has the option of sowing seeds with a trowel to create a sustainable way to gather food. Farming is also influenced by the seasons system, meaning crops will yield more in summer than winter.

Farming Skill Benefits

Increasing the farming skill provides more information about the crop status when the crop info is viewed (right-click -> Info). At skill level 0, the player cannot discern much useful information about the crop he/she just planted, and rookie farmers have to rely on visual cues about the plant status. At skill level 5 all info is shown, including but not limited to: hydration level, growth phase, time left to reach the next growth phase, potential diseases types and plant infection levels for the diseases. In addition, at level 5 if a plant has a detrimental status, such as disease or drought, it is signified to the player with a hovering icon when the player character simply stands next to the affected plant for a moment. As such, players with 5 points in farming can check crops for any ill effects just by standing still.

Increasing Farming Skill

You only gain farming skill XP when the player successfully harvests a plant he/she planted. No other actions (watering, checking, digging, or planting) give any farming XP.

Farming Guide

Why Farm?

No matter how good you are at scavenging, eventually all of the food on the map will be exhausted. Once the power fails, a significant portion of the usable food will rot and become inedible. You cannot continue to survive without finding new, sustainable sources of food. Currently in Project Zomboid, you have four options: 1) Farming, 2) Fishing, 3) Foraging, and, 4) Trapping. Of these, farming requires the most work, but also appears to gives the most rewards. Combining your harvested crops with fish or trapped animals can make significant meals that will replenish hunger, thirst, and unhappiness simultaneously.

Step 1: Collecting Materials

To start farming at all you will need:

  1. A trowelTrowel.png
  2. Seeds Carrot Seeds Packet.png (the more seeds and the larger the variety the better)
  3. Something that can hold water

Additional items that will help you to sustain your farming over long periods are:

  • Rain barrels (level 4 carpentry barrels preferred)
  • Walls
  • Spade and empty sandbags (to relocate dirt, if necessary)
  • Watering can(s)
  • Empty spray cans (two (2) minimum)
  • Cigarettes
  • Milk packages
  • Fertilizer

Step 2: Preparing Your Garden

Choose a good location for your farm:

  • Zombies can trample your crops. This will damage or kill them.
  • You must plant in a place where zombies can't get to them while still allowing sunlight in.
    • One option is to build walls around the area you will plant in.
    • Another option is to plant on top of a second story where zombies cannot access easily.

Moving dirt:

  1. To move dirt to your chosen location you need to have a Spade and empty sandbags.
  2. Equip the spade in both hands
  3. Put the sandbags in your main inventory.
  4. Right click on an area with dirt (grass is a safe bet, but there is only one layer of usable dirt per tile)
  5. Click "Take some dirt -> Empty Sand bag." Each sandbag can hold four (4) tiles of dirt.
  6. Right click on the tile you want to drop the dirt on.
  7. Click "Spill dirt -> Dirt bag."

Repeat until you have enough tiles for the amount of crops you want to plant.

Note: You may want to put space between your farming plots to prevent the spread of disease. See more about disease below.

Preparing the dirt tiles:

  1. Make sure the trowelTrowel.png is in the main inventory.
  2. Right click on a nearby section of land, and then select "Dig".
  3. A patch of dirt with three furrows should appear.
Output Ingredients Description Crafting Level
Plowed land.png
Plowed Land x1
Trowel.png + Gras land.png
Trowel x1 Grass Tile x1
You can plant seed in here. No crafting level required.

Step 3: Planting Crops

Seed Packets

If you found seed packets, you will need to open them. This will give you the loose seeds that you will plant.

  1. Put a Seed Packet in your main inventoryCarrot Seeds Packet.png
  2. Right click on the seed packet and select "open seed packet."
  3. Make sure your loose seedsRadish Seeds.png are in your MAIN inventory
Output Ingredients Description Crafting Level
Crop Seeds.gif
Crop Seeds x50
Crop Seeds Packet.gif

Crop Seeds Packet x1
Contains 50 individual seeds of the given crop. No crafting level required.

Planting Seeds

  1. Verify you have some sort of water in your inventory to water your seeds with. You will generally need 50+ units of water per tile.
  2. Right click on a tile you've tilled (a tile with three furrows).
  3. Click "Sow Seed -> <Crop Name>"
  4. Right click on the newly planted seeds and select "Info." Leave this window open to the side so you can see how well watered your crops are.
  5. Immediately water the crop by right clicking and choosing "Water -> <Number>". I suggest you start by watering all crops with at least 50 units.
  6. Continue watering in 5-10 unit increments until the crop info box says "Well Watered."
Output Ingredients Description Crafting Level
Potato CropB.png
Potato Crop x1
Plowed land.png + Potato Seeds.png (+) Water drop.png
Plowed Land x1 Potato Seeds x4 Water
(consumed) (consumed)
Min Water: 65
Average days until harvest: 17 days
No crafting level required.

Step 4: Growing Crops


Remember to keep your crops in the "Well Watered" state. You will need to check them at least once per day unless it is raining. A watering can will speed up this process significantly.
If you're low on water, you will have to hope that it rains often enough to keep your crops watered. Placing Rain Collector BarrelsRainCollectorBarrel.png around your garden to collect rain will be necessary to make sure you don't lose a harvest of crops and starve. Place them near your garden so you don't have to walk far to fill up your watering can.

Although it takes half a Watering Can or Gardening spray can (20 units of water) to bring a crop to a Well Watered / 100% state, using 4 mugs of water (4 units of water) to water a crop will yield the same result.

Growing Time

Crops will take different lengths of time to grow depending on what seeds are planted. Crops progress through basic stages of growth:

  1. Seedling
  2. Young
  3. Fully Grown
  4. Ready to Harvest
  5. Seed-bearing (NOT "In bloom")

Crop Specifications

Crop Minimum Water Maximum Water Average Days Until Harvest Additional Days for Seeds Required Seeds Days to Stale Days to Rot
Carrot 35 65 15  ? 12 6 8
Broccoli 70 - 30 3 6 4 7
Radish 45 85 17  ? 6 3 7
Strawberry 85 - 22  ? 12 2 5
Tomato 75 - 26  ? 4 4 12
Potato 65 - 26 3 4 14 28
Cabbage 85 - 14 1 9 2 4

NOTE: Carrots and Radishes for the first phase need more water to start out. About 75 or 80 percent and then use the guide above for the rest of the phases.


Fertilizing your crops will help them grow more quickly. If you use NPK Fertilizer Fertilizer.png, it will remove 20 hours off of the current growth cycle of the plant. If there are less than 20 hours remaining on that growth cycle, it will immediately proceed to the next level and the extra hours will be lost. Generally, fertilizer is hard to come by for the large farms needed to sustain yourself, so it should only be used in an emergency to speed plant growth when food is getting scarce. Using too much fertilizer on a plant will kill it (4 or 5 uses).

Threats to Crops

Trampled Crops


  • Your immediate problem is the constant threat of zombies. Zombies can trample your crops and force your hard work (and water) into waste. Keep zombies away from your crops.
  • Zombies may go inside some of your nearly-grown crops and may try to ambush you.
  • Try to plant in a secure location and always check for zombies in your crops before turning your back to the crops.
  • Crawlers (the zombies that crawl on the ground rather than walk around) may go unseen in almost-fully grown crops.
  • Growing crops on patches with zombie blood causes the seedlings to become instantly "sickly".

Plant Diseases

  • There are currently three diseases in Project Zomboid: 1) Mildew, 2) Insects, and 3) Devil's Water Fungi (DWF)
  • These diseases will slow the growth of your plants, possibly kill them, and/or cause them to produce a smaller harvest than normal.
  • You can combat mildew and insects with a spray.
  • Devil's Water Fungi cannot be eliminated with a spray. Any tiles with DWF must be dug up and replanted to remove the disease.

Plants can be afflicted by the diseases listed above, and diseases can jump from plant to plant in close proximity. Strawberries have been reported to be particularly susceptible to disease. The best solutions to keeping disease to a minimum are to treat all infestations as soon as they appear, and to either grow strawberries in an area that is totally separate from your other plants (preferably enclosed within walls and a door), or not to grow strawberries at all. When a character's Gardening skill is Level 5, you can see icons denoting the diseases (denoted by a fly icon for Pest Flies, and a Red Cross icon for Mildew) and see them as they move from square to square. Even a square that is not currently cultivated can have a disease icon floating above it, as it looks for a new plant to infect. To resolve this, it is suggested to dig that square, sow it with seeds such as fast-growing cabbage, and then to immediately treat any diseases that appear.

Plant Disease Problems

  • Mildew causes your plants to mature more slowly than they would normally.
  • Insects cause a growing plant to consume more water. Affected plants will need considerably more water and attention than healthy plants.
  • Devil's Water Fungi (DWF) is arguably the biggest danger to your garden since it causes plants that are harvested to give smaller yields than healthy plants, and there is no countermeasure to fight it with, so it can quickly get out of control. DWF regularly occurs on plants that have been infected with either Mildew or Pest Flies for some time, so keep those two diseases under control and it should keep DWF to a minimum. Unless a plant is very close to harvesting, it is usually worth removing plants affected with DWF as soon as possible since the biggest threat is that of DWF spreading to your other plants.

Making Plant Disease Cures

As of Build 32, you either need the gardening trait or the farmer profession to craft these items.

Output Ingredients Description Level
Gardening spray can.png
Mildew Spray x1
Gardening spray can.png + Milk.png
Gardening Spray Can x1 Milk Package x1
Used to cure plants of the "Mildew" plant disease. No crafting level required.

Gardening spray can.png
Insecticide Spray x1
Gardening spray can.png + Cigarettes.png
Gardening Spray Can x1 Cigarettes x5
Used to cure plants of the "Insects" plant disease. No crafting level required.

Plant Health

When you sow seeds to grow crops, a plant's starting health is determined by your Farming skill. The higher your skill, the higher the starting health. The health, as denoted as a percentage, increases slowly over time, unless affected by disease or inappropriate water levels. Currently, radishes and carrots have a maximum water level and thus can be overwatered, causing them to lose health. Thus, it is recommended to grow these crops in an indoors/roofed farm area, so that rain doesn't cause them to lose health from overwatering.

The health of a plant determines the size of the yield upon harvest. Seeds are given to the character when a plant is harvested during its seed-bearing phase; this is the last phase of a plant's life, and appears after the plant is able to be harvested solely for food.

Farm Equipment

Seed Packets

Item Description
Broccoli Seeds Packet.png

Broccoli Seeds Packet

A packet of seeds opened to obtain 50 broccoli seeds.
Cabbage Seeds Packet.png

Cabbage Seeds Packet

A packet of seeds opened to obtain 50 cabbage seeds.
Carrot Seeds Packet.png

Carrot Seeds Packet

A packet of seeds opened to obtain 50 carrot seeds.
Radish Seeds Packet.png

Radish Seeds Packet

A packet of seeds opened to obtain 50 radish seeds.
Strawberry Seeds Packet.png

Strawberry Seeds Packet

A packet of seeds opened to obtain 50 strawberry seeds.
Tomato Seeds Packet.png

Tomato Seeds Packet

A packet of seeds opened to obtain 50 tomato seeds.
Potato Seeds Packet.png

Potato Seeds Packet

A packet of seeds opened to obtain 50 potato seeds.


Item Description
Broccoli Seeds.png

Broccoli Seeds

Some seeds that are used to grow and harvest broccoli at the cost of the character's water supply.
Cabbage Seeds.png

Cabbage Seeds

Some seeds that are used to grow and harvest cabbage at the cost of the character's water supply.
Carrot seeds loose.png

Carrot Seeds

Some seeds that are used to grow and harvest carrots at the cost of the character's water supply.
Radish Seeds.png

Radish Seeds

Some seeds that are used to grow and harvest radish at the cost of the character's water supply.
Strawberry Seeds.png

Strawberry Seeds

Some seeds that are used to grow and harvest broccoli at the cost of the character's water supply.
Tomato Seeds.png

Tomato Seeds

Some seeds that are used to grow and harvest tomatoes at the cost of the character's water supply.
Potato Seeds.png

Potato Seeds

Some seeds that are used to grow and harvest potatoes at the cost of the character's water supply.

Farm Tools

Item Description
Gardening spray can.png

Gardening Spray Can

A can that can hold water. It is used to water the crops.
Watering can.png

Watering Can

A container that can hold water. It can also be used to water the crops.


A small metal shovel. It is used to till the soil.


RC 2.9 Added to the Vanilla game.

See Also

Tools TrowelWatering CanGardening Spray CanFertilizer
Seeds Broccoli SeedsCarrot SeedsRadish SeedsStrawberry SeedsTomato SeedsPotato Seeds
Crops BroccoliCarrotsCabbageRadishStrawberryTomatoPotato