Farming can be used to grow various plants. As of 1.26, there are two plants you can use for food - rye to make bread and pumpkins. But you can farm several other plants as well: cotton, ivy, cacti, trees, flowers and tallgrasses.
Farming works best on tilled soil that is placed next to or on top of water, and is fertilized with saltpeter (except for pumpkins). This is called cultivated soil. For any plant to grow, the temperature must be warm enough but not too hot and the humidity must be high enough. Rye and cotton grow best in moist, warm, cultivated soil.
Pumpkin seeds can be removed from pumpkins by putting one in a crafting slot, and planted on high quality soil. The grown pumpkins may be eaten raw.
Cotton can be grown to produce Cotton Wads which are used to make clothes. Cotton seeds may be obtained by breaking wild cotton plants. They must then be planted on proper soil to grow into cultivated cotton plants.
Ivy is used for string, but can only be planted on vertical surfaces. Ivy is grown from harvested ivy and not from seeds. It does not need dirt or soil to grow. The best way to farm it is to use a wall and put the ivy as far up as you can reach. It will grow down quickly (depending on the environment) and you can harvest it. Be sure to leave the top ivy block on the wall so it will continue to spread.
Trees do not need watered or fertilized soil but they must have enough humidity and the right temperature range for the species. Saplings may be crafted from the leaves of the tree and planted. They will grow over time and can be harvested for wood and leaves.
Flowers can be used for decoration. You get flower seeds from flowers, using the personal crafting interface or crafting table. They can be grown on soil, dirt or sand and fertilizer is not necessary.
Cacti can be grown on sand up to 3 blocks tall. If they are cut leaving the bottom portion, they will regrow their loss. There are no seeds and the cactus block itself is planted to grow taller.
Tall Grass seeds can be obtained by putting a tall grass into the personal crafting interface or the crafting table. Tall grass can be grown in the same conditions as flowers.
- You will want to choose a good location for your farm. This will depend on what you are farming. Trees need a humid environment, and the right temperature range. A thermometer and hygrometer are very helpful to determine a good location, especially for trees. Other crops aren't affected as much by the environment except crops that need to be irrigated by water since if it's too cold the water can freeze and the soil will dry up. Also if you haven't found malachite ore yet in order to make a Bucket you'll need to place your farm next to water in order to irrigate the soil. Also plants need light to grow, so outdoors is better. You can also add some torches or lamps and make them grow even faster. < NOTE: See the thermometer page for information on bug when holding it. >
- Once you have a good spot, you should lay out the area you wish to plant, especially with crops that need tilled soil such as rye, pumpkin or cotton. A large farm will sustain you and often smaller farms will not suffice. For example, it takes a lot of rye to make a little bread and due to the slow growing time it is only really efficient when grown in large quantities.
- Crops and tilled soil can be ruined by you or animals walking on it, so it's important to protect your crops with a fence, spiked planks, lava, etc., or placed up high, like on top of your house. They may even be built indoors or underground. When laying out the plan for your farm, something to consider is how you will access the crops without damaging them. Creating raised walkways if you do not wish to risk becoming wet by walking towards them through placed water is quite sensible and reduces the time spent afterwards in which you would have to become dry again. A double high fence is strongly recommended since some animals can jump two block high. Werewolves and tigers are able to jump over double fences so if you are in an area prone to them, you may wish to build your fence three high and add a roof!
- Once the area is ready, you must lay out your plots. The best way is to have a row of water next to every three rows of plants. Also in order to save saltpeter it's a good idea to make the plots not only three rows wide, but also three rows long, or in lengths that are multiples of three (6, 9, 12). When placing water, dig a trench at least one block deep into the ground right next to your soil and then add water. Don't try to put water on top of the soil and plants because it will wash them away and ruin them.
- Get a rake and till every block that you wish to plant on. Tilled dirt becomes soil and has a grooved look to it. It will also become darker in color as it becomes moist due to the water.
- Get your fertilizer - saltpeter, and break it on the soil by tapping the soil (don't throw the saltpeter.) It will spread to a block on each side of it, fertilizing up to 9 squares per chunk. (Which is why it's best to farm on plots that are 3x3 in size.) Fertilized soil has specks of white on top of it.
- Once your farm is fenced in and the soil is tilled, irrigated and fertilized you can now sow your seeds. Be careful not to step on your soil after planting the seeds! Note that fertilized soil doesn't last forever. (This actually makes rye farming a NON-'sustainable' method of survival, since saltpeter is NOT replenishable.) However, you can get up to three harvests per block of fertilized soil.
- Once your seeds are in the soil, walk away and leave it to grow. Different crops take different amounts of time to grow, cotton being the quickest.
- When the crop is ready, harvest it by breaking the plants. If you made your plots on 3x3 blocks you'll have to walk on the soil to collect the crops. Just rake it right away so it'll continue to be fertilized moist soil. If you have lots of saltpeter and hate raking then you can make your plots in rows of one or two blocks and just not step on the soil when harvesting.
- You can take some of the harvested plant and use it to create more seeds for the next crop. You can do this with rye, but it is not recommended since it takes so much rye to make bread you will want to keep every rye seed you harvest, to make bread. Wild rye seeds can be collected as you wander through the world. However, if you're not pressed for food, go ahead and replant your harvested rye seeds. With pumpkins you have no other choice but to sacrifice some pumpkins to make more seeds.
Rye can be very picky and may not grow well even in the best prepared soil. It can take a long time to grow and may produce few seeds per plant. It takes 9 seeds to make one bread. If you use harvested seeds to grow the next crop, you may only get one seed per plant to make into bread. That means you may need 9 plants for each loaf plus one saltpeter. This is a very inefficient use of resources. It is very helpful to gather seeds from wild rye.
Cotton will grow fast compared to rye. It is usually fully grown in two to three SC days. When it is harvested, you get cotton wads plus more cotton seeds. You do not need the seeds to craft anything, so they can be collected to plant the next crop. If you do not have extra cotton seeds, they can easily be gathered from wild cotton plants.
Pumpkins can be picked and eaten once they are ripe. Pumpkins will grow to maturity even on grass, but they grow better on tilled, moist soil so planting them just anywhere may not get the best results. Do NOT fertilize soil for pumpkins - planting them only destroys the fertilizer and does not improve their growing! Harvested mature pumpkins can be crafted to get more seeds. One pumpkin will make three seeds so you can eat (or use) two other pumpkins and still have seeds for the next crop. If you plan on growing pumpkins, you should NOT eat the first few pumpkins you find as they may be scarce to find.
Trees can be grown indoors if there is enough space. They do not need fertilized or tilled soil to grow. However, fetilizing the soil may make them grow faster and taller.
Cacti can only be planted on sand. They will grow under almost any conditions.