How do I make a farm using buckets?
On the Dwarf Fortress wiki is a description of muddying tiles using buckets and a channeled irrigation gallery. I haven’t been able to make this work. I’ve dug the two z-levels, and channeled the upper level. I have a bucket, and I believe I’ve zoned the upper level as a pond (although I’m not at all sure I’ve done that correctly; the zoning menu is not intuitive to me). I have idle dwarfs, and they’re not collecting water!
Is there anything else I need to do to enable my dwarfs to start pouring buckets? Do I need to designate a water source, enable a labour preference, or do anything else?
A step-by-step description of the process (particularly the zoning steps) would be extremely helpful to me.
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Here’s my method (illustration below, farm in progress): I dig an 8×8 room and channel out the interior 6×6 square with some stairs down for access. Once you’ve got that, you need to designate pond zones on the upper level. Only one dwarf will fill each pond zone at a time, so I like to designate six 2×3 pond zones.
Pond zones: i brings up the zone menu. Hit enter to start drawing a rectangle, then enter to set the other corner of the rectangle. Now you have a generic zone that’s flashing. Press p (lower-case p) to make it a pond/pit. Press P (capital P) to change the zone settings. Press f to set the zone as a pond. Press esc to go back to the zone screen and draw your next zone!
Now you need free dwarves and plenty of buckets; they don’t use buckets very efficiently. If your dwarves act too slowly, the water will start to evaporate, but I find 6 ponds with 6 dwarves will fairly quickly fill the farm area. If you have a stubborn spot that just won’t fill, move your zones around to target that spot. If the stubborn spot is in the middle, well, be patient. 🙂
Once you’ve got mud on every tile (look, k, should show you mud) deactivate and/or remove your pond zones (via the zone menu) and then build your farm (b, p)! Don’t forget you can size your farm plot with the umkh keys.
Advanced tip: I like to create a furniture stockpile that only accepts buckets near the water source to decrease the time dwarves spend running around carrying buckets.
You do need to designate a water source, I believe. Make sure that you’ve built some buckets. I think you may also need to designate one tile on solid ground as a pond to get them to water the gap next to it.