Dwarf Fortress: How to Farm for Food

Food is an essential resource in Dwarf Fortress and farming is the most consistent way of getting it.

However, similar to most mechanics in the game, it’s not clear how to do that and players are confused.

In this guide, I will explain how to set up farms, farm for food, and which seeds to plant in Dwarf Fortress.

Where to Set Up Farming Area in Dwarf Fortress

Farming locations are fairly specific in Dwarf Fortress. Players can set up farms on clay or sand floors.

You can’t farm directly in caverns or the mines. However, you can also farm on mud and you can turn the cavern floor into mud if you want to farm there.

While this will take some time and effort, your goal is to bring water onto the cavern floor, which will turn it into mud.

However, getting water is harder than it sounds. For a detailed guide on how to get and transfer water in Dwarf Fortress, consider checking out our relevant guide. If not careful, it’s easy to flood your whole base.

How to Set Up Farming Area in Dwarf Fortress

Now that you’ve decided on where you want to set up your farm, it’s time to prepare the soil. Here’s how to set up a farming area in the game.

  1. Open the structures menu by interacting with the hammer in your hotbar or clicking the hotkey ‘B’.
  2. Navigate to the Workshops tab or click the hotkey ‘O’.
  3. Select the Farming tab or click the hotkey ‘F’.
  4. Lastly, go to the Farm Plot option on the right or click the hotkey ‘P’.

Now set up as many farm plots as you need based on your current population. On average, a 3×3 farming area will be enough to feed 100 Dwarves, while a 5×5 is recommended for 200-250 Dwarves.

Which Seeds to Plant in Dwarf Fortress

There are 110 farmable seeds in the game and different seeds can be planted each season. Start by interacting with your newly-made farm plot and swap between the season tabs to see which ones you can plant.

Some of the best seeds to plant when starting are the following.

  • Cave Wheat – Allows booze production.
  • Pig Tails – Allows cloth production.
  • Plump Helmets – Basic food source, can be processed into a drink as well.
  • Quarry Bushes – These produce food and seeds.
  • Sweet Pods – Can be processed into sugar, syrup, or booze.

In short, all basic seeds are useful except the Dimple Cups, which are used as a dye or for trading. Start by farming the resource you need the most: food, booze, or cloth.

Now that your farm is ready and you’ve decided which seeds to plant, here’s one useful tip to maximize your yields.

When planting seeds, it’s important to plant everything with a dwarf that is proficient in farming. You’ll start with one, so all you need to do is make sure to select that dwarf to be the one planting the seeds.

Then, it doesn’t matter who will do the harvesting. As long as they were planted by a proficient farmer, they’ll have increased yield.


To sum up, that’s everything you need to know on how to farm food in Dwarf Fortress.

Set up your farm in clay, sand, or mud, and prepare your soil. Then, based on the season and on the resource you need, plant the respective seeds with a proficient farmer.

And that’s all! Now you’ve got a consistent food supply to help your colony thrive.

With a farm now set up, consider checking out our guide on how to get more seeds in the game.

Which seeds have you planted? Now that you’ve set up a farm, what’s your next step? Let us know in the comments below.


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