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I'm trying to build an automatic cactus farm and I need some help.

I know cacti must be placed on sand, and water/light are not required. The thing I don't know/understand is how to place a roof on top that will break the cactus when it grows.

I tried placing a dirt block two blocks above the first cactus, but rather than the cactus growing up to the dirt and breaking off, it just stops growing once it reaches the dirt.

What am I doing wrong here?

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Although cute in theory, cactus farms are pretty much redundant. Once you get one they seem to sprout like weeds. They grow really fast and are pretty easy to harvest. I wish iron grew like that. –  Bill K May 8 '11 at 5:29
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True enough, but it's nice when you're trying to get a lot of cacti in a hurry so that you can make a little(fine, large.) maze inside a friends main base. :] –  chandsie May 8 '11 at 5:32
    
You can also use an oversupply of cactus as completely junk items to toss in dispenser-and-pressure-plate contraptions, and such. –  Kevin Reid May 8 '11 at 11:29
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1 Answer

up vote 17 down vote accepted

The trick is that you need the blocks to be adjacent to where the cactus will grow. This works because cacti cannot tolerate being adjacent to other blocks - they break off instead.

This tutorial has some good pictures and illustrates a farm with water to gather the fallen blocks automatically.

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ahhh! Adjacent, not above. Thanks! –  chandsie May 7 '11 at 15:48
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While this isn't perfectly efficient (As it's possible for the cactus to hit a cactus block and be destroyed), my own cactus farm shows that it's far more productive than there are uses for cactus. –  Phoshi May 7 '11 at 21:25
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