Canned-food will help you survive long enough in Project Zomboid, but there is nothing like fresh veggies growing in your own backyard. Farming is a mechanic not to be underestimated, as it can become a powerful source of food that helps you lose weight or endure harsh weather. This guide will explain how Project Zomboid farming works, the farm tools you need to get started, and everything from where to find seeds to how to maintain your garden.
Anyone Can Farm in Project Zomboid, But You Can Get a Head Start
Similar to Electrical leveling, Farming is a skill that can be learned and mastered by any character, regardless of your chosen traits or occupation. That being said, if you really want to focus on this activity, you can get a substantial advantage with the right choices.
During character creation, a great way to level Farming is to choose the Farmer occupation. This will grant you +3 Farming from the get-go, as well as a +125% experience boost.
If you’d like to go one step further, or just pick a different occupation while also gaining some leverage, you can choose the Gardener trait to gain +1 Farming at the cost of -4 points off your Traits list.
There are two main reasons why either of these options would be beneficial to have as early as possible. The first comes down to the higher your Farming level in Project Zomboid is, the more information you’ll see when you’re inspecting your plants. Details can include current hydration levels, growth phase, any present diseases or infections, and so on. While you can get away with relying on visual reference alone, the actual knowledge can be one right-click away, saving you precious time.
The second reason comes down to making cures for plant diseases. Both the Insecticide Spray and Mildew Spray recipes can be learned with the Farmer occupation or Gardening trait by default. If you opt out of both of these, you’re going to have to hunt for The Farming Magazine, which is a harder ordeal since there is no guaranteed spot for it.
Where to Find Farm Tools, Seeds, and Water – Project Zomboid Farming
While not as scarce as The Farming Magazine, farm tools aren’t exactly everywhere. In order to start making plowed lands for your seeds, you will need a Trowel or Shovel. Both tools are usually found in garages, tool sheds, kitchens, and even crates if you happen to stumble upon a warehouse during your expeditions. You can also dig furrows on the ground barehanded by right-clicking on a grass or dirt surface, but it may hurt your hands in the process.
Crates in particular are also a great potential source for seeds. Moreover, seeds can be found on kitchens and sheds as well, but also on markets if you’re scavenging. For reference, a Crop Seeds Packet contains 50 individual seeds. Depending on the crop, you may need anything from 4 to 12 seeds to create it.
From here, all that’s pending is watering. Of course, a watering can is the perfect tool for the job, but you can also use buckets or mugs to gather water from a kitchen sink, a lake or any other sources (yes, that includes toilets). Your crops should always be in the Well Watered state, so make sure to check on them at least once a day.
In case you were wondering, yes, you can gather water from the rain in Project Zomboid as well. The most effective way of doing so is by using Rain Collector Barrels. Crafting these items requires 4x planks, 4x nails and 4x garbage bags each, as well as a hammer, stone hammer or ball-peen hammer. There are two types of Rain Collector Barrels: a smaller variant that requires Carpentry level 4 and a larger variant at Carpentry level 7. But again, if you are unable to create them, recipients such as buckets, bowls, and mugs will work just fine (although they will hold less water.)
Garden Tips, Weather, And Dealing With Zombies – Project Zomboid Farming
So, here’s the main issue: Farming takes a lot of time. It may take several in-game days for your crops to be ready to harvest. This, of course, involves staying alive long enough for that to happen. Depending on your difficulty of choice, this will be complicated.
As such, I recommend not focusing on farming in Project Zomboid until you’ve secured a safe place. This also includes stockpiling on resources to keep your hunger low as you wait for your crops to grow beforehand. Then, once you’ve gotten both the aforementioned tools and seeds, you can start preparing your garden. I recommend to leave at least one or two square tiles in between spaces (so, plant your seeds, leave one or two spaces around that tile, plant your seeds, and so on) to prevent zombies stepping on them often (which can damage or completely ruin the crops) and also avoid plant diseases to spread. Alternatively, you can build your garden on the roof of the house.
If you want to secure your crops from the undead as much as possible, fences alone won’t cut it. For this, you should build Log Walls (each costs x4 log and x1 ripped sheet, twine or rope) and place them around your farm. Zombies won’t be able to jump over these walls, and they have a low crafting requirement all things considered (you don’t need any Carpentry level). You can find log while foraging (whenever you’re in a forest, right-click on the ground and choose Foraging) or inside log stacks — if you have an axe (or any other similar tool) go ahead and chop down any nearby trees.
Now that you’ve gotten everything you need and your crops are starting to grow, it’s time to wait. Using fertilizer will reduce the wait of the plant’s current growth cycle by 20 hours. For reference, the growth cycles are as follows: Seedling, Young, Fully Grown, Ready for Harvest, and Seed-bearing (the latter serves in case you’d like to give up on harvesting to collect seeds instead). If you don’t have fertilizer, building a Composter will solve this. You’ll need Carpentry level 2 as well as 5x planks, 4x nails, and a hammer, stone hammer or ball-peen hammer. Then, all you have to do is put as much rotten food as you can inside. It’s worth noting that using too much fertilizer can kill your plants, so don’t overdo it (two to three times at most if you want to be secured.)
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Last but not least is the weather. Like real life, your plants will benefit from direct sunlight, so it’s always advised to build your farms outside without a rooftop or any other structure above them. As we mentioned above, rain will water your crops directly, so don’t worry about having to do so manually. The biggest problem comes down to Winter, though. During this time your crops won’t grow outside, no matter how much fertilizer you use. If the season is starting to change and you’re only beginning to build a farm, it’s best to just spend your time focusing on a different activity altogether until Winter passes, or make room to build the garden inside your house.
That’s all you need to know to get started in your Project Zomboid farming adventures. Sadly, no matter how much sun my crops are exposed to, they’re yet to start attacking any upcoming zombies — I’ll keep you updated.