Farming

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PlushSpiffo.pngThis article is about farming skill. For fertilizers and seeds, see Gardening. For gardening tools, see Tools.
Farming
Farming
General
Type
Crafting
Modifies
More crop information on inspection
Spiffo enjoys being self-sustainable

Farming is one of the skills, added to Project Zomboid in RC2.9, allowing the player to sow seeds and create a sustainable way to gather food. Farming is also influenced by the seasons system, meaning crops will yield more in summer than in winter.

Farming skill benefits

Increasing the farming skill provides additional 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 they just planted, and rookie farmers have to rely on visual cues about the plant status.

Farming level Benefit
1
2 Current growth phase shows the name. Crop health becomes color coded.
3
4 Water level becomes color coded and shows a bar graphic. Disease (if present) shows the name. Hovering the mouse cursor over the crop shows the water level.
5 Current growth phase shows the number/7. Health shows a number/100. The water level shows a number/100 including mouse cursor.
6 Disease (if present) shows a number/100.
7
8 Next growth phase shown in number of hours.
9
10

Increasing farming skill

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

Farming experience is gained based upon the crop's health divided by 2, +25 if the crop is in good condition, -15 if it's in bad condition, up to a maximum of 100 XP.

From CFarmingSystem.lua (Project Zomboid directory/media/lua/client/Farming/):

-- add xp, depending on the health of the plant
function CFarmingSystem:gainXp(player, luaObject)
	local xp = luaObject.health / 2
	if luaObject.badCare == true then
		xp = xp - 15
	else
		xp = xp + 25
	end
	if xp > 100 then
		xp = 100
	elseif xp < 0 then
		xp = 0
	end
	player:getXp():AddXP(Perks.Farming, xp)
end

Farming guide

The crop growth stages of Tomato plants

Why farm?

No matter how good you are at scavenging, eventually all 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 give 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: character creation

This step can often be skipped, however choosing the right occupation and traits can rapidly increase the rate at which it takes to level up the farming skill. There is only one of each occupation and trait that will help with farming. The farmer occupation will give the player 3 farming skill levels, but it will also give an experience boost to that skill. This bonus cannot be gained after the character is created. This is the same for every major skill.

Starting skill level and experience boost

Level 0 - 25% (Default for all skills)
Level 1 - 75%
Level 2 - 100%
Level 3+ - 125%

Therefore, the farmer occupation will give a major advantage if the player wishes to live their life on a farm.

Occupations

Name Starting points Major skills Description Notes
Farmer Farmer 2 +3 Farming Can make Mildew Spray and Insecticide Spray. Usually not the obvious choice when creating a new character, but picking this occupation will certainly make farming more rewarding.

Traits

Name Cost Description Notes
Gardener
Gardener
-4 +1 Farming Able to make the Mildew Spray and Insecticide Spray without reading The Farming Magazine.

Step 2: collecting materials

To start farming at all, you will need:

  1. A tool with Dig Plow tag.
  2. Seeds (the more seeds and the larger the variety the better).
  3. Something that can hold water.

Additional items that will help to sustain a farm over long periods are:

Step 3: preparing your garden

Choose a good location for your farm

  • Zombies can trample your crops. This will damage or kill them.
    • Players can safely walk over crops without trampling 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 (optional)

  1. To move dirt to your chosen location, you need to have a shovel and sacks.
  2. Equip the shovel in both hands
  3. Put the sacks 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 -> Sack." Each sack 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: It is advised to space farming plots one tile in each direction to prevent the spread of disease. More information about the various types of plant diseases and their treatments is listed below, which can remove the need for spacing crops if utilized properly.

Example of ideally spaced crops, grown in a specific pattern to prevent the spread of plant diseases.

Preparing the dirt tiles

  1. Make sure the plowing tool 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.
Product Ingredients Tools Requirements Workstation XP
Vegetation farming 01 1.png
Plowed Land
One of:
TZ GardenTrowel.png Trowel ×1
GardeningFork.png Hand Fork ×1
Pitchfork.png Garden Fork ×1
Hoe.png Garden Hoe ×1
Shovel.png Shovel ×1
Shovel2.png Shovel ×1
SnowShovel.png Snow Shovel ×1
Each of:
Gras land.png Grass ×1
none none none none

Step 4: 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 inventory.
  2. Right click on the seed packet and select "Open Packet of…"
  3. Make sure your loose seeds are in your main inventory and not any backpacks.
Product Ingredients Tools Requirements Workstation XP
TZ BroccoliSeeds.png
Broccoli Seeds ×50
TZ SeedpackBroccoli.png Broccoli Seeds Packet ×1 none none none none
TZ CabbageLettuceSeeds.png
Cabbage Seeds ×50
TZ SeedpackCabbageLettuce.png Cabbage Seeds Packet ×1 none none none none
TZ CarrotSeeds.png
Carrot Seeds ×50
TZ SeedpackCarrots.png Carrot Seeds Packet ×1 none none none none
TZ PotatoSeeds.png
Potato Seeds ×50
TZ SeedpackPotatoes.png Potato Seeds Packet ×1 none none none none
TZ LRRadishSeeds.png
Radish Seeds ×50
TZ SeedpackLRRadish.png Radish Seeds Packet ×1 none none none none
TZ StrewberrySeeds.png
Strawberry Seeds ×50
TZ SeedpackStrewberries.png Strawberry Seeds Packet ×1 none none none none
TZ TomatoSeeds.png
Tomato Seeds ×50
TZ SeedpackTomatoes.png Tomato Seeds Packet ×1 none none none none

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>". It is recommended to water all crops with at least 50 units of water. Alternatively, players can sow fresh seeds while it is already raining.
  6. Continue watering in 5-10 unit increments until the crop info box says, "Well Watered."
Product Ingredients Tools Requirements Workstation XP
Vegetation farming 01 30.png
Broccoli (crop)
Vegetation farming 01 1.png Plowed Land ×1
TZ BroccoliSeeds.png Broccoli Seeds ×6
WaterDrop.png Water ×70 unit(s)
none none none none
Vegetation farming 01 21.png
Cabbage (crop)
Vegetation farming 01 1.png Plowed Land ×1
TZ CabbageLettuceSeeds.png Cabbage Seeds ×9
WaterDrop.png Water ×85 unit(s)
none none none none
Vegetation farming 01 38.png
Carrots (crop)
Vegetation farming 01 1.png Plowed Land ×1
TZ CarrotSeeds.png Carrot Seeds ×12
WaterDrop.png Water ×65 unit(s)
none none none none
Vegetation farming 01 46.png
Potato (crop)
Vegetation farming 01 1.png Plowed Land ×1
TZ PotatoSeeds.png Potato Seeds ×4
WaterDrop.png Water ×65 unit(s)
none none none none
Vegetation farming 01 55.png
Radish (crop)
Vegetation farming 01 1.png Plowed Land ×1
TZ LRRadishSeeds.png Radish Seeds ×6
WaterDrop.png Water ×75 unit(s)
none none none none
Vegetation farming 01 62.png
Strawberry (crop)
Vegetation farming 01 1.png Plowed Land ×1
TZ StrewberrySeeds.png Strawberry Seeds ×12
WaterDrop.png Water ×85 unit(s)
none none none none
Vegetation farming 01 71.png
Tomato (crop)
Vegetation farming 01 1.png Plowed Land ×1
TZ TomatoSeeds.png Tomato Seeds ×4
WaterDrop.png Water ×75 unit(s)
none none none none

Step 5: growing crops

Watering

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 Barrels 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. If you haven't got a high enough carpentry skill, a variety of water storage containers have a rain factor, which allows them to be filled when placed in the rain.

Growing time

Crops will take different lengths of time to grow depending on what seeds are planted. The growing phases in the game are divided into 7. The current phase's numerical value is visible from farming level 5 onwards. Crops can be harvested in growing phase 6 or 7, except for Strawberries and Tomatoes, which can only be harvested in phase 7. Seeds are only acquired when harvesting a crop in phase 7. Once a crop reaches phase 7, the next phase is actually "rotten", with the hours remaining visible in the info window with sufficient farming skill level. See the table below for estimates on this duration.

Broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and radishes share the same progress through basic stages of growth:

  • Seedling (Phases 1 to 2)
  • Young (Phases 3 to 5)
  • Ready to Harvest (Phase 6)
  • Seed-bearing (Phase 7)

Potatoes and Strawberries differ slightly through their stages:

  • Seedling (Phases 1 to 2)
  • Young (Phases 3 to 5)
  • Blooming (Phase 6)
  • Seed-bearing (Phase 7)

Tomatoes also have different stages:

  • Seedling (Phases 1 to 2)
  • Young (Phases 3 to 6)
  • Seed-bearing (Phase 7)

Crop specifications

Crop Minimum water Maximum water Average days until harvest Additional days for seeds Required seeds Days to rot
Carrots 35 85 10 2 12 10
Broccoli 70 - 23 5 6 10
Radish 45 85 12 3 6 9
Strawberries 85 - 28 5 12 10
Tomato 75 - 24 N/A 4 10
Potato 65 - 20 4 4 2
Cabbage 85 - 10 2 9 2

NOTE: Strawberries when harvested go back to stage 2 instead of being removed.

NOTE: Carrots and radishes need more water to start out: carrots min 80 in phase 1 and 70 in phase 2, radishes min 70 in phase 1.

The growing time per phase is configured as follows:

Carrots: 50-55h

Broccoli: 103-117h

Radishes: 56-62h

Strawberry: 103-131h

Tomatoes: 89-103h

Potatoes: 89-103h

Cabbage: 46-52h

Fertilizer

Fertilizing your crops will help them grow more quickly. If you use NPK Fertilizer TZ IndieStoneNPK.png, it will remove 20 hours off 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).

You can make your own fertilizer as long as you have level 2 of carpentry and some rotten food. You'll need to build a composter. Once you have built it you can place perishable food that has gone rotten inside, usually it takes 2 weeks to get some fertilizer, you'll need a sack to get the fertilizer, and then you can use it on your plants.

Threats to crops

Trampled crops

Zombies

  • 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.
  • Players can safely walk over crops without trampling them.
  • 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.
  • Contrary to popular belief, growing crops on patches with zombie blood does not currently cause the seedlings to become instantly "sickly". It is still highly recommended to clean blood from tiles using Bleach and a Mop, Bath Towel, or Dish Towel.

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. In order to cure it, the plant must be dehydrated below 90% of the Minimum Water level. For example, a Potato plant requires at least 65 units of water. 90% of 65 is 58, rounded down. That is, 65 × 0.9 = 58. Therefore, your Potato plant must be below 58 units of water for Devil's Water Fungi to begin to cure. It will cure at a rate of 2 points for every interval the plant consumes water (default is 5 hours). Depending on the growth stage of the plant, if you choose not to build a shelter over the plant to avoid rain, it may be best to dig up the plant and start over. Or harvest it if it's ready, as DWF can spread to other plants.

Plants can be afflicted by the diseases listed above, and diseases can jump from plant to plant within a 1 tile radius (including diagonals). The best solutions to keeping disease to a minimum are to treat all infestations as soon as they appear. It is theorized that strawberries are more susceptible to disease than other crops, although this has not been proven. Ensuring your crops are spaced properly will help greatly in avoiding the spread of diseases, should they show up.

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. The only cure is to dehydrate the diseased plant by keeping it below 10% of the Minimum Water required for that plant type. 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

Either the gardening trait, farmer profession or have read The Farming Magazine are needed to craft these items. Once a cure is depleted, an empty spray can is available again.

Product Ingredients Tools Requirements Workstation XP
TZ GardeningSprayCan.png
Insecticide Spray
TZ GardeningSprayCan.png Gardening Spray Can (Empty) ×1
WaterDrop.png Water ×3 unit(s)
IckySticks.png Cigarettes ×5
none
Profession farmer2.png
Farmer occupation
(or)
MagazineFish.png
The Farming Magazine
none none
TZ GardeningSprayCan.png
Mildew Spray
TZ GardeningSprayCan.png Gardening Spray Can (Empty) ×1
Milk.png Milk ×1
none
Profession farmer2.png
Farmer occupation
(or)
MagazineFish.png
The Farming Magazine
none none

Note: Even rotten milk can be used to make Mildew Spray.

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 can be harvested solely for food.

Health levels from least to highest are: Healthy, Flourishing, Verdant, Thriving (not a complete list)

Water levels from driest to wettest are: Parched, Dry, Thirsty, Fine, Well watered

Farm equipment

Seed packets

Item Description
TZ SeedpackBroccoli.png

Broccoli Seeds

A packet of seeds opened to obtain 50 broccoli seeds.
TZ SeedpackCabbageLettuce.png

Cabbage Seeds

A packet of seeds opened to obtain 50 cabbage seeds.
TZ SeedpackCarrots.png

Carrot Seeds

A packet of seeds opened to obtain 50 carrot seeds.
TZ SeedpackLRRadish.png

Radish Seeds

A packet of seeds opened to obtain 50 radish seeds.
TZ SeedpackStrewberries.png

Strawberry Seeds

A packet of seeds opened to obtain 50 strawberry seeds.
TZ SeedpackTomatoes.png

Tomato Seeds

A packet of seeds opened to obtain 50 tomato seeds.
TZ SeedpackPotatoes.png

Potato Seeds

A packet of seeds opened to obtain 50 potato seeds.

Seeds

Item Description
TZ BroccoliSeeds.png

Broccoli Seeds

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

Cabbage Seeds

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

Carrot Seeds

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

Radish Seeds

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

Strawberry Seeds

Some seeds that are used to grow and harvest strawberries at the cost of the character's water supply.
TZ TomatoSeeds.png

Tomato Seeds

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

Gardening Spray Can

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

Watering Can

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

Trowel

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

See also