I'm trying to grow something on a farm plot as a beginner in Dwarf Fortress.

I have built a farm plot at the ground level, i.e. outside, not underground or in a cave -- just in some "dense meadow-grass".

There are no errors or warnings, except that when I hit q for Set Building Tasks/Prefs to actually start growing something on this farm plot, I get:

"No seeds available for this location"

If I hit z to see my status, it states I have:

Seeds 50?

Is this my problem? Why is there a question mark at the end?

I thought this might be, that they are still gathering the seeds while harvesting plants, as I've seen a similar question mark next to how many stones I have.

However, even after waiting some time, it doesn't seem to go from 50? to 50.

Or is it because I have no bookkeeper? This is beyond my current skill level, just something I read about here: Dwarf Fortress seeds on hand

In any case, I started out with plenty of seeds, and I haven't used them for anything else.

1 Answer 1


By default, none of the seeds you can bring with you during embark can be grown outside. You need an underground farm plot for dwarven crops, placed either on an underground soil layer, or a "muddy" underground rock layer that you've splashed water on. But make sure not to dig out the area beneath it: crops need a solid tile to grow roots into, not just a thin floor.

For your above-ground field, you can probably gather some wild above-ground plants; then if your dwarves eat them raw or make alcohol out of them, the seeds will be left behind (but not if they get cooked! this destroys the seeds). Most areas have either strawberries or fisher berries, both of which can be eaten raw or brewed into standard-value alcohol and farmed above-ground. You can check the wiki for more information.

The ? is telling you that you have no bookkeeper, or that you haven't set your bookkeeper to maintain "maximum accuracy". You should do both of these; your life will be easier.

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