How to Farm in Dwarf Fortress (2022 Steam Version)

Create a sustainable farm in Dwarf Fortress with our in-depth guide.
Screenshot: Gamer Digest/Dwarf Fortress
Screenshot: Gamer Digest/Dwarf Fortress

If you have just started up your first Fortress and you keep starving your dwarves, don’t fret. Dwarf Fortress has a pretty steep learning curve, and even though there is an in-game tutorial, some of the concepts can be confusing. Farming in Dwarf Fortress is something you’ll need to learn to do, as food is a critical component of the well-being of your populace. 

If you’ve played other city-building games, then farming in Dwarf Fortress might seem familiar. There are a few key concepts you’ll need to understand first, however, before you can have a successful farm capable of sustaining your population. 

How to Farm in Dwarf Fortress

To create your farm, you need to find suitable land for crops first. Then, access Structures>Workshops>Farming and place your Farm Plot. Once a plot is placed, you’ll need to select suitable fruit or vegetable seeds for your crops to grow. You will also need potash, or fertilizer, which can be made from ash. From here, you can build a Farmer’s Workshop that can process the crops for different purposes. 

Finding the Proper Land for Your Crops

Suitable land underground, in the mountain, includes loam, muddy loam, and other types of soil. Above ground, you have more freedom to build crops and can build them on grass.

Above-ground crops include vegetables like RadishesCabbages, and Celery

Above Ground Crops (Winter), Dwarf Fortress
Above Ground Crops (Winter)

Underground crops include things like mushroomsPlump helmets, and Dimple cups. The land you can grow underground will be brown, so it’s a good indicator if you can build your farm there. 

Underground Crops, Dwarf Fortress
Underground Crops

Setting your Farm Plots

To plant your crops in Dwarf Fortress: 

  1. Click your Structures (b) button. 
  2. Select Workshops (o).
  3. Click Farming (f).
  4. Select Farm Plot (p)
  5. Click and move your mouse to plan out your farm. Click again to confirm your selection. 
Setting a Farm Plot in Dwarf Fortress
Setting a Farm Plot

Planting Your Seeds

To plant your seeds in your Farm Plots:

  1. Click the Farm Plot
  2. Click the checkbox next to the type of crop you want to plant. It will default to the season that you’re in. 
  3. Check Fertilize Every Season if you plan on using your farm plots year-round. Different seasons will offer different types of crops you can grow. 
Planting Seeds in Dwarf Fortress
Planting Seeds

If the text under the plant reads No seeds, you won’t be able to plant that specific seed.

Your available villagers will automatically start tending to the fields, and your crops will begin to grow and get harvested. Keep an eye out for the notifications on the top left of the screen because it’s more than possible you will run out of seeds. 

Viewing Your Plot Overview

As you expand and grow larger and get more plots, it might be hard to manage them all. Luckily, you can access all your Farm plots from a single menu. To access this view, click Places (p), then hit the Farm plots tab.

Farm Plot Overview in Dwarf Fortress
Farm Plot Overview

Here you’ll be able to view the different crops you have planted and crops that have the Leave fallow status from a lack of seeds. Make sure you are planting new seeds in the currently unoccupied plots.

Crop Variety

Another important aspect of Dwarf Fortress is ensuring you have different Farming Plots for different seeds. Because you’ll usually have a plethora of seed types, keeping your plots smaller will enable you to sustain a better crop variety. The size of your plot really depends on how big you want to go, but we recommend something around a 4×4 or 5×5 sized plot to accommodate the different kinds of seeds you have.

When you first start, this might not be as obvious or important because you’ll only have one kind of seed, but as you explore and harvest different kinds of plants, your seed variety will grow.

Processing Plants at the Farmer’s Workshop

The last thing you’ll want to do after planting and growing crops is to make a Farmer’s Workshop, which can be accessed through the Workshop menu. Here, you’ll be able to do various things with the raw materials produced from your animals and crops.

At the Farmer’s Workshop, you’ll be able to do the following:

  • Make cheese
  • Milk animal
  • Process plants
  • Shear animal
  • Spin thread
Farmer's Workshop in Dwarf Fortress
Farmer’s Workshop

Processing plants will enable the Kitchen to make meals.

Collecting Seeds and Making Potash

When you start a new world in Dwarf Fortress, your caravan will automatically provide you with a few Plump helmet seeds that can be grown underground. 

New seeds can be collected from surrounding bushes. To collect plants and get more seeds, select the Plant Gathering (g), then click and drag over applicable plants. Your villagers will randomly find seeds that you can use to replant crops. 

Making Potash

Potash is a fertilizer used in Dwarf Fortress to empower your crops and yields. To make potash, you’ll need 2 Workshops: a Wood Furnace and Ashery

Once built, you can set Work Orders to set your Wood Furnace to Ash and your Ashery to Make potash from ash

Making potash in Dwarf Fortress
Making potash

Now you know what you need to know to create an efficient farm in Dwarf Fortress and keep your populace fed and happy. 

Did your villagers still succumb to a lack of food? Let us know how your campaign went in the comments below. 

Visit our Dwarf Fortress section to follow our guides and walkthroughs as we progress through the Steam version of the game.

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