Tutorials/Pumpkin and melon farming

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This is a tutorial on how to farm pumpkins and melons, both manually and automatically. For other types of farming see Farming.

Growth mechanics[edit]

Melons and pumpkins use essentially the same mechanics for growth and can be easily farmed with the same techniques. Once the plants are mature, they will provide a steady supply of fruit for your needs.

Finding Seeds[edit]

To begin farming, seeds must first be found. You can either find seeds in chests, or find whole melons or pumpkins and craft them into seeds.

If you do have a whole pumpkin or melon, but no seeds, simply place the pumpkin in a crafting grid, which yields 4 seeds, or, alternatively, place the pumpkin somewhere and use shears on it. The melon drops melon slices when mined, which yield 1 seed each when put in a crafting area.

Note: Pre-1.13 players must put the whole pumpkin in a crafting area and craft it into 4 seeds.

Growth Factors[edit]

The growth rate of melon and pumpkin stems and the spawning of melon and pumpkin fruit is determined by the same growth rate algorithm as for wheat, carrots, and potatoes. The stem itself has 8 phases of growth until maturity. Bone meal may be used to accelerate growth.

The attempt to grow a fruit happens when the mature stem would grow again (to "phase 9") and is not already adjacent to an instance of its fruit. First one of the four sides is chosen, and if this space is suitable (empty with dirt, grass, podzol or farmland beneath) the fruit is created. Bone meal will not force fruit production.

  • Thus, hydrated farmland adjacent increases growth rates of stems and production rate of fruit, having the same stem type adjacent to the stem (unless in rows) reduces growth rates and fruit production, light level 9 in the block above the stem is required for any growth, etc.
  • The maximum probability of fruit production from a single stem would therefore require a stem in hydrated farmland with hydrated farmland on all eight sides, with four of those farmland blocks remaining unplanted (the corners may be planted with some other crop). Practical farms will often accept reduced per-plant production rates (⅔, ⅓, or even ⅙ of the maximum) for greater space efficiency and ease of harvest.

Both sorts of fruit will revert farmland below them to dirt when they grow. Pumpkins can most easily be harvested with an axe, and will drop whole as items. Melons can be broken quickest using an axe. They will also break faster using a sword, but at the cost of double durability. While melons grow as blocks, the melons are broken into 3–7 slices by harvesting (unless a Silk Touch tool is used). In both cases, the harvested fruit can be crafted back into seeds. Harvesting mature stems will also produce seed (1–4 per stem), but it is faster to wait for the already-mature stem to grow a fruit than to regrow a mature stem from seed.

  1. Each chunk has a 1/32 chance of attempting to spawn pumpkins when the chunk is generated; a random point is chosen and 64 attempts are made to find a random air block with grass beneath in a 15×15×7 region around the point in which to place a pumpkin. Note the random point could be far in the air or far underground, greatly reducing the chances of pumpkins being able to be placed.
  2. For each jungle chunk generated a random point is chosen and 64 attempts are made to find a random replaceable block (e.g. air, long grass, or vines) with grass beneath in a 15×15×7 region around the point in which to place a melon. Note the random point could be far in the air or far underground, greatly reducing the chances of melons being able to be placed.

Manual farms[edit]

This section contains suitable layouts for farms that must be manually harvested. The percentages given are space efficiencies. Parenthesized values are theoretical maximums, which assume that there are free blocks surrounding the farm for the border plants to place melons. The maximum possible efficiency for any melon or pumpkin farm is 50% (one fruit per stem). Spaces where a fruit can occupy two or more stems will reduce the efficiency and yield. Question-mark blocks indicate that anything could be put in that spot—perhaps lighting, or other crops such as wheat, carrots, or potatoes. You will probably want to cover the water with a slab, a lily pad or a carpet.

Simple farms[edit]

The following grids will give you different availabilities for designs of pumpkin and melon farms.

If you just want a quick, compact farm, use design D below. C and D have slightly lower efficiency, but both fit on a "standard farm plot", and are easy to harvest. Of those two, D likely has a faster growth rate due to the separated rows of stalks, but the middle row should not be open dirt/grass or farmland (or more stalks), because any fruit spawned there can tie up two stems. For C, the middle row can be anything except more stalks, for the same reason.

Design A is slightly larger and maximizes space efficiency. It can be tiled for larger farms, but alternate rows should be mirrored top-to-bottom to keep the efficiency. Design B is least efficient, but fits in a slightly smaller plot.

Farm Plan A, 9×10, 48.88%.
Farm Plan B, 9×8, 43.21%.
Farm Plan C, 9×9, 44.44%.
Farm Plan D, 9×9, 44.44%.

Very large farms[edit]

Most of the above farms can be tiled to make larger farms, though in some cases, alternate rows or columns of the plots should be flipped for best results. This farm represents an expansion of design A (turned sideways), with the left column of plots reversed (it also shows the farmland border for the whole farm). The basic plots could be repeated further, expanding the farm in units of 9×9. Note that this design aims to make sure that each fruit only occupies one stem - as it increases in size, the efficiency approaches 49%

Large farm grid.png

Multi-level farms[edit]

While the above designs all use one layer, the most efficient (49.38%) 9×9 farm can be created by using two layers. Design is based on design D, and cobblestone indicates spaces that will be covered (with dirt) by the layer above.

When replicated over a larger area, design G has spots where you will need to jump. Design H avoids that but keeps the same efficiency. For design H, the water source must be placed with care so that it won't spread into the "corridors". However, if there is the usual pit in the bottom layer (and matching hole above), the source block can be placed against one of the upper blocks, or 2 blocks above that layer. The position of the melon stems and dirt/grass/farmland blocks in the two farming layers can be swapped without losing efficiency.

Farm Plan G bottom layer, 9×9, 29.62% (44.44%).
Farm Plan G upper layer, 9×9.
Farm Plan H bottom layer, 9×9, 29.62% (44.44%).
Farm Plan H top layer, 9×9.
An example of the Plan D simple farm.

Rapid-harvest farms[edit]

The above layouts are optimized for high efficiency, at the cost of speed. They work best for infrequent harvests, with plenty of time for the field to regrow in between. For frequent harvests, the first following layout may be better suited; if harvested once per day-and-night cycle, it yields about 17 fruits per harvest (as opposed to about 13 fruits for the above designs). The second layout goes even further in that direction—it does not use space efficiently, but instead gives each stem 2–4 potential places to spawn a pumpkin or melon, encouraging quicker initial growth at the cost of a clumsier design and reduced long-term yield.

Rapid-harvest Farm 1.
Rapid-Harvest Farm 2.

Semi-automatic farms[edit]

Melons and pumpkins are both "dropped" when a piston of any kind pushes them, leading the possibility for auto-harvesting melon farms. A simple Auto-Harvester would be made by placing an upward-facing sticky piston under each farmland block reserved for melons. Alternately, regular pistons can be used (refer to Design 8 to see how). When the pistons are powered, they destroy all of the melons for pickup by the player. Using this technique, one can make a semi automatic farm as shown here, but it will take up extra space for the mechanisms.

The following designs are all possible ways to make a semi-automatic farm:

Design 1[edit]

A basic auto-harvester melon farm using sticky pistons.

Design 2[edit]

Design 3[edit]

Design 4[edit]

Design 5[edit]

The following melon/pumpkin farm uses a pressure plate to rapidly pulse a sticky piston.

Design 6[edit]

A compact semi automatic pumpkin and/or melon slice generator, with notification noise:

This design uses 2 stems with 2 spawn places and a notification note block for each. Wooden planks in layer 1 define note block's tone and can be replaced with other blocks according to your preferences. Any opaque block can be used instead of cobblestone. Jack-o-lantern can be replaced with glowstone. Maximum delay is recommended for the redstone repeaters.

Design 7 - Stackable[edit]

The following design sacrifices space efficiency in order to fully automate harvesting and allow massive expansion: The tower can be expanded up to the build limit and/or down to bedrock, potentially yielding nearly a thousand growing spaces per tower.

The total area of the farm is 13 blocks by 7 blocks, with alternating piston and farm layers. Its height is 2 blocks, plus 2 more for each "crop layer" of 8 growing spaces. You will need the following materials to make it:

  • 16 dirt
  • 8 jack-o-lanterns, or glowstone (for lighting)
  • 8 iron
  • 28 redstone + an extra 10 - 13
  • At least 50 generic blocks per crop layer, an extra 43 blocks for the build as a whole.

The farmland is hydrated by water flowing down from above. A pressure plate at the end of the collection area on the bottom activates a redstone torch tower, which in turn activates each piston layer. The harvest falls down the empty middle area into flowing water at the bottom layer, and is channeled to the player standing on the pressure plate.

Starting tips:

  • To speed up collection, place ice blocks under the watercourse.
  • The farm can be lit from within by glowstone as shown, or much more cheaply by jack o'lanterns. Unfortunately, you can't place a jack-o-lantern directly onto a piston, so if you will need to put temporary blocks in place of the pistons, put the jack-o-lanterns on top of those, and then replace the temporary blocks with the pistons.
  • The pressure plate can be replaced with a hopper or two, leading to a chest or two south of it. Then, the redstone can be triggered with a switch anywhere along its length. However, a sufficiently tall farm may produce enough goods to overwhelm the hopper (750 items—call it a dozen stacks—will take 5 minutes to absorb, so additional stacks may expire. Twenty or so levels of melons could do that, or most of a hundred levels of pumpkins).

See the following steps to build the farm itself:

  1. Start with the base layer, which is a modified farm layer. The farmland squares should be planted with your seeds, while the dirt is where pumpkins or melons will grow.
  • If you are using jack o'lanterns for light, remember the temporary blocks as noted above.
  1. Place a piston layer on top of that. This completes your first crop layer, and for the bare-minimum "tower", you could go on to the cap and water layers from here. More likely, continue to:
  2. Alternate farm and piston layers, as many as you want. Each pair is a crop layer. This is the expandable section, and you are limited only by resources.
  3. After the last piston layer, build the cap layer instead of another farm layer. The black wool indicates temporary blocks (any solid, non-falling, block will do) which you will remove after placing the water on the top level.
  4. Last of all, build the top layer, place the water, and mine out those temporary blocks. For the top-most layer, all the water blocks are sources (the Art of the Bucket will assist in filling them quickly).

[Schematic Help]

Piston and Farm Layers

Cap and Water Layers

Fully automatic farms[edit]

These farms require no player interaction for the harvesting and collection of pumpkins or melons after being built. Fully automatic farms require pistons and redstone to function, and are generally more expensive to build than manual or semi-automatic pumpkin and melon farms.

Farms are triggered automatically in one of three ways.

  1. By a system based on time. You can use either a redstone/hopper clock or a daylight sensor for this.
  2. By making bud switches, or placing observers, that detect when an adjacent block updates.
  3. Using a simple redstone circuit that completes when a pumpkin or melon grows.

Pumpkins and melons are collected in a combination of the following.

  1. Water streams
  2. Hoppers
  3. Hopper minecarts.

Pumpkin/Melon opaque block detection farms[edit]

These farms send redstone power through the space where pumpkin or melon will grow. When the block there is opaque, redstone power can pass to next component which trigger piston to harvest the pumpkin or melon.

Design 1[edit]

This design requires only 1 piston per pumpkin stem, and doesn't require a bud switch. This pumpkin farm fits within a 5x5 area and is simple to build.

Top view layer 1

Top view layer 2

Top view layer 3

Top view layer 4

Top view layer 5

Top view layer 6

Design 2[edit]

This melon/pumpkin farm is completely modular and uses a dropper/hopper combo to detect melon growth.

Top view layer 1

Top view layer 2

Top view layer 3 - Dropper contains 1 item.

Design 3[edit]

This farm uses redstone dust to receive power from pumpkin/melon and send power to sticky piston under dirt under growing space.

Top view layer 1

Top view layer 2

Top view layer 3

Top view layer 4

To make this design, you need to first find a small, flat area to build in. Then, start building the farm with the following steps:

  1. Start by placing a water source with a bucket, and tilling the grass nearby it.
  2. Block all but one sides with any block, where the stone bricks are in the image to the right. After that is done, place a sticky piston two blocks below the area you did not cover. Place any solid block where the grass block is shown, and connect it to a redstone torch, make sure it is facing the same direction as the picture is.
  3. Place a redstone repeater facing away from the redstone torch and pointing towards where your melon/pumpkin will grow. Make a loop around the perimeter with redstone, and the occasional repeater may be necessary, depending how large you are making the structure.
  4. You can optionally add a note block so that you know when the pumpkin or melon is done (see the picture below)

An additional feature for ease of collecting is to push the pumpkin item or melon slices into a canal. To do this, wire the underground piston's power to power another sticky piston one block above the plant and a block away opposite the water and put a block on its arm (using just the piston arm to push could cause the item(s) to not be pushed). A delay may be necessary for this piston to avoid bugs involving pushed blocks becoming unstuck. Make sure to put a longer delay on the repeater going into the pumpkin or melon. Additionally, several blocks must be placed to ensure each item has nowhere to go but into the water.

After you finish, plant the melon or pumpkin seeds (if you already haven't), and wait for your first harvest.

Design of auto melon and pumpkin farm.

Design 4 - Dual-piston pumpkin detection farm[edit]

This farm uses sticky pistons to detect redstone power passed through pumpkin or melon and send signal to regular pistons. The only non-renewable material required is dirt. Everything else can be made of renewable material.

Side view 1-wide simplified harvesting unit

The rightmost column can be rotated around the air column behind the lower piston to save space in tiled farm.

Top view floor 1 layer 1

Top view floor 1 layer 2

Top view floor 1 layer 3

The schematic shows half of tileable part of 4-growing-space floor plan. The other half is north-to-south mirrored copy of the first half, sharing the central slice of hoppers and chests to keep iron cost low (7 hoppers per 4 growing spaces). Each growing space has 2 stems beside it. There are 2 rows of farmland between growing spaces, so each stem in the middle has 5 wet farmlands nearby, resulting in better growth rate than if the stem has less than 4 wet farmlands around. The leftmost and rightmost side of the farm should also have 2 rows of 3 farmlands to have the same stem growth rate. Not all of melon slices are collected by the hoppers, but the amount collected is probably good enough.

Top view floor 2 layer 1

Top view floor 2 layer 2

Top view floor 2 layer 3

The second floor is left-to-right mirror image of first floor, so the upper hopper of the first floor pulls items from the large chest of second floor.

Design 5 - Dual-piston pumpkin detection farm (non-sticky variant)[edit]

This farm design is a variant of design 4 for early game before the player acquires slimeball and sticky piston. It uses 2 regular pistons and 2 sands per growing space. But its height is 6 blocks, 2 times the height of design 4.

top view layer 1

top view layer 2

top view layer 3

top view layer 4

top view layer 5

top view layer 6

BUD circuit farm[edit]

Design 6[edit]

This farm is very small, has no sticky pistons, and is resource friendly. It uses a BUD switch to determine if a pumpkin/melon has matured and then activates a piston to break it and send it into a hopper.

top view layer 1

top view layer 2

top view layer 3

top view layer 4

Vertical observer farms[edit]

Observer on top of melon/pumpkin growing block, looking down, can be used to detect melon/pumpkin growing.

Observer also detect piston arm and other block moved by piston to harvest pumpkin or melon and may cause piston to extend and retract in loop if there is no mechanism to prevent it.

Observer on top of stem will inhibit growth, so it is cannot be used in this position.

Design 7[edit]

This design is lag-friendly and uses the observer block to detect grown pumpkins (or melons) so is only build-able with version 1.11 or above. It is compact and cheap to build and can be easily expanded.

front view slice

side view slice

This design uses sticky piston to push observer down to harvest pumpkin/melon. Piston does not received power from the direction it is facing, so another route is needed to transmit the signal. Slime block is placed between observer and piston to help extracting observer's signal. The signal is passed through 2-tick Redstone Repeater which lengthened it enough for sticky piston to pull blocks back to original position.

Design 8[edit]

This farm packs high yield per growing space in small tile area per growing space (2x2, excluding border and water). All of mechanical and circuitry components are above ground and stem level, so the ground can devote to maximize growing rate. Its stacking height is 6 blocks.

Front view - growing space slices

Front view - between growing space slices

Top view layer 1 - hoppers

Top view layer 2 - farmland, dirt, and water

Top view layer 3 - pumpkin stems, melon stems and potatoes

Top view layer 4 - observers looking down, unmovable jack-o'-lanterns

Top view layer 5 - slime and redstone circuit, repeaters set to 2 redstone ticks

Top view layer 6 - sticky pistons face down

For high output per growing space, plant 4 stems (2 pumpkin stems and 2 melon stems) adjacent to growing space, and surround each stem's root with 6 wet farmlands, so its growth rate is the maximum value (1/3 per random block tick) (1/12 for each available space adjacent to stem). Growing spaces surrounded by 4 such stems have highest possible output rate per growing space. Potatoes are planted to prevent pumpkin or melon growing on farmland where they will not be harvested. The border of farm surrounding the outer stems should have potatoes on wet farmland too if there is available space. Water block is placed every 8x8 area. Stems around water block in the middle of the farm has only 5 wet farmland around them, so their growth rate is slightly reduced to 1/4 per random block tick (1/16 for each available space adjacent to stem). When the farm is extended in schematic east-west direction, sharing the left most and rightmost redstone dust on stationary block, 1 pumpkin or melon fruit growing will trigger 8 pistons at the same time.

Horizontal observer farm[edit]

Observer can be used to detect melon/pumpkin growing, or detect change in stem when it bears fruit.

Design 9[edit]

This farm uses observer horizontally, it needs larger area than vertical observer farm. Place 2 stems on farmlands with one air block between the stems. The stems can be melon, pumpkin, or both. Beneath the empty air block, place any type of block that a melon/pumpkin can grow on, and behind that space place an observer block. Have the observer be wired up to a regular piston pointing towards the air block and on top of it. Finally, have a hopper beneath it that will collect the melons and put it into a chest. This method, however, will continuously loop once set off, as the observer sees the piston arm and will trigger over and over again, unless there is a mechanism to stop the signal.

Top view - layer 1

Top view - layer 2

Top view - layer 3

Top view - layer 4

Top view - layer 5

Side view - middle slice

Side view - redstone wire slice

Time-based farm[edit]

Design 10 - High-density pumpkin and melon farm[edit]

This farm has high yield per volume. And it takes little resource per growing space when you expand the farm.

The floor consists of farmlands and dirts in checkerboard pattern. There are hoppers under farmlands and they are connected to storage container(s). One block of dirt is replaced with water every 8x8 area. Pumpkin seeds and melon seeds are planted in alternating rows, so their diagonal stem neighbors are of different kind from themselves. On dirt blocks are air blocks and on these air blocks are pistons facing down. On the same level as pistons, jack-o'lanterns are placed over stems and farmlands column. The pistons and jack-o'lanterns are in checkerboard pattern. Redstone pulses from clock are sent to one opaque block on piston, then spread through redstone repeaters and redstone dusts, which are on jack-o'lanterns, and more opaque blocks on pistons. Appropriate clock cycle period may be around 5-6 seconds or longer.

Top view layer 1 - hoppers

Top view layer 2 - farmland, dirt, and water

Top view layer 3 - pumpkin stems and melon stems

Top view layer 4 - pistons and jack-o'-lanterns

Top view layer 5 - redstone circuit

This farm's stacking height is 5 blocks. The second floor does not need another clock. It can take signal from redstone torch column and pass it through pulse limiter in the corner like the first floor. Items from second floor can be sent down through first floor's water with Minecart with Hopper or chest in the water and Dropper in the redstone circuit layer with hoppers between them.