In Project Zomboid, unless you are wedded to the nomadic lifestyle, you’ll want to set up a farm sooner or later. Sourcing your meals means supply runs, which means leaving your safehouse and braving the infested municipalities.
Once the electricity fails, food will become increasingly scarce, and your supply runs will take you further from home and deeper into the horde. Trapping can be a great source of meat, though that too will require some adventuring, and in turn, some risk. On the other hand, a farm will make you self-sufficient, reducing the risk of becoming someone else’s lunch while trying to get yours.
Also Read: Project Zomboid Trapping Guide
Equipping yourself for farming in Project Zomboid
Before you embark upon your journey as a farmer in Project Zomboid, you’ll need to get your hands on a few tools. A trowel and a shovel are musts, both of which can be found relatively easily. Warehouses, storage units, sheds, and sometimes houses have them both. These areas also tend to hold packets of seeds, which you’ll need to begin your farm. Check out the large wooden crates found in these locations for a good haul of various seeds. These two tools are the minimum requirement for properly making a basic farm.
If you want to make your life easier and give yourself more options, you should also look for a garden fork, a garden hoe, and a few sacks. The garden fork is good for tilling the earth, which you’ll need to do before planting any seeds. It also doubles as an excellent weapon, keeping the dead at arm’s length and making them deader in only a few hits. You can also spear charge with it for dramatic effect.
Hoes are also good for tilling soil, but not so great as a weapon. Sacks perform a completely different function, allowing you to dig up some dirt and transport it elsewhere. They are always nice to have as a bit of extra storage, but if you want to create a farm on a rooftop or in a concrete courtyard, sacks are a must.
The last item you need is a water container. You’ll need to keep your crops watered, but relying on rainfall isn’t enough. Anything will do, though a watering can is one of the best items for the job. If you can’t find one, anything from a cup to a saucepan will do the job. Once you’ve found these tools, you’re ready to make a start on your farm.
Setting up your farm in Project Zomboid
To make a fruitful farm in Project Zomboid, you need a good location. Zombies will wander into an unprotected farm, destroying your crops and ruining your farm. As such, you’ll either want to take yourself off into the remote wilderness, well away from the zombies, or head to fortified and difficult-to-reach areas. Schoolyards, rooftops, and fenced-off locations are perfect locations for an urban farm, generally requiring very little additional fortification on your part.
Once you’ve picked your location, you can start building your farm. Ideally, your prospective farm will already have a load of dirt nearby, so you can get going right away. If not, you’ll need to dig up some dirt from elsewhere, store it in sacks, then haul it over to your farm location. Once the soil is on the ground, it can be worked like any other.
The next step is to start digging. Take one of your gardening tools and start digging furrows in the earth. You’ll need these to plant your seeds. In a pinch, you can use your hands to dig furrows, but you’ll be risking injury. If you can help it, you’re better off waiting until you have tools.
Also Read: How To Hotwire a Car In Project Zomboid
When you dig furrows, it’s generally a good idea to keep them spread out. Having one tile furrowed, one clear, and one furrowed is a good pattern to keep disease at bay. If one crop becomes diseased, it will eventually jump to any crops that sit next to it. Before long, your entire growing patch will be diseased and inedible if you don’t catch on quickly. Once you’ve got your furrows dug, you can crack open your seed packets and start planting.
It’s also a good idea to grow your crops in small quantities, at least if you don’t have any way to keep them preserved. Having a massive yield won’t do you any good if you can’t eat your way through half of it before it rots. Having a couple of growing patches dedicated to growing seeds is another good call, as you’ll be truly self-sufficient that way. For this, you just need to leave your crops unharvested for a few days once they’re fully grown. They will become seed-bearing plants, which can be harvested for more seeds.
With your growing patches dug and well-organized, and a handful of seeds sown, your farm will be fully set up. Your work here isn’t done, however. You’ll need to spend a good deal of time tending to these crops to get them ready for the harvest.
Tending to your crops
In Project Zomboid, Farming isn’t as simple as set and forget. Your crops will need regular tending; at least one thorough check-up every day or two. While tending to your crops, you’ll need to provide three things – water, fertilizer, and disease/pest control.
Water provision is the easiest part of farming in Project Zomboid. All you need to do is collect water and use it on each of your crops. Even when the faucets are done providing water, you can still take a bucket down to the local river or lake and scoop some up.
A better move would be to set up rain catchers, either using trash cans with bags in them, or by leaving buckets outside. Rainfall will quench your crops, while also giving you a good amount of water for dryer days. Make sure you don’t drink this water without boiling it first, however. That’s a good way to give yourself an infection, though your plants won’t mind one bit.
Next up is fertilizer. This isn’t strictly necessary, but it will make your crops grow quicker. You can obtain fertilizer in two ways – finding it on supply runs and making it yourself. Looting it is obviously the riskier option, though it will give you something to work with immediately. Simply head over to warehouses or sheds and search the large wooden crates. You’re looking for bags of NPK fertilizer.
The other method requires a carpentry skill of two, plus 5 wooden planks and 4 nails. Use these materials to create a composter, then throw in any rotten fruit and vegetables you might have. Wait a few days for your homemade fertilizer to be ready. Take care to only use a small amount of fertilizer on your crops. Any more than two uses tend to kill any particular crop.
The last part of tending to crops is taking care of disease. You’ll be looking for three diseases in all – Insects, Mildew, and Devil’s Water Fungi. Zombie blood will also make crops sickly, but that isn’t something you have to worry about usually. As long as you pick a safe location for your farm, you won’t have to worry about it at all.
Insects and Mildew can be treated with gardening sprays, but Devil’s Water Fungi is untreatable. You’ll need to uproot any plants with it immediately and hope it hasn’t spread. To craft the sprays, you’ll need a gardening spray can and either the Farming Magazine, Farmer profession, or Gardening trait. Any of those will give you the necessary recipes. For the Insecticide spray, you’ll need:
- Gardening spray can
- 5 Cigarettes
For Mildew spray, you’ll need:
- Gardening spray can
- Milk (rotten works too)
Once you have your sprays, all you need to do is use it on the affected crops. But how do you know which crops are sick?
Checking the status of your crops
The last lesson in your Project Zomboid farming masterclass is checking your crops. Checking them lets you know whether they need water, how healthy they are, if they are diseased, and if they are fertilized. All of this information is crucial to effectively tend to your crops.
To see your crops’ status, right-click one and click info. This box tells you everything your character can find out about your crops. You won’t know everything at level one, and most of what you can see is pretty vague, so you’ll need to get your farming skill leveled up. Thankfully, this is easy to do, though it is fairly time-consuming. Every crop you harvest will give you some experience which can be boosted by reading the farming skill books. As you increase your skill, you’ll get more information with more detail.
That’s everything you need to know about farming in Project Zomboid. While not a pressing issue in the opening days of your character’s survival, farming is vital for extending your life beyond the initial couple of months. The produce grown will keep your character fed without much risk, plus keep down stress when cooked with other foods. All in all, farming is the skill known by all that live long lives.