Sugar cane is arguably the easiest crop to grow in Minecraft but farming it is a whole different matter. It can be planted on a variety of blocks (dirt, grass, and even sand) and doesn’t require any light to grow. However, you’ll need to ensure that the block that you plant this crop on is adjacent to water. This means that you’ll need to come up with a way to either funnel water from the river/ocean to your farm or plant the crop near these bodies of water instead (if you still don’t have a water bucket). Both of these options have their own merits but they can be inefficient when used in certain biomes or environments.
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Pre-requisites to starting a Sugar Cane Farm
If you’re playing on survival, make sure that you start your sugar cane farm once you already have a crafting table, furnace, and established other farms (namely wheat and beetroot). These pre-requisites will make starting your farm easier. The crafting table and furnace are needed for crafting buckets which will be needed to gather water. This eliminates the need to make irrigation canals to supply water to your farm. Of course, you'll also need to know where to find sugar cane. These take a while to find though so it might be for the best if you chose a seed that will spawn you near a couple of these plants.
Choosing a location
Unlike other crops, location isn’t as vital to growing sugar canes since they don’t require light to grow. Theoretically, an underground farm will have the same yield as a farm built above the ground with similar dimensions. With that said, you’ll want a farm with large enough dimensions to hold a sizable number of crops. One other factor that has to be considered is the flatness of the farmland. Make sure that you plant on level ground since harvesting sugar cane can be time-consuming.
Manual Sugar Cane Farming
There are many ways to farm for sugar cane. For now, we’re going to tackle the two most common and efficient methods of growing this hardy crop.
The Compact Sugar Cane Farm Layout
This layout or method of farming sugar cane is not only efficient but scalable as well. Its only limitation is the fact that it can be hard to harvest if you make it too big. Personally, I would suggest that you use this layout to get a feel for sugarcane farming and then proceed to either the next layout or to a more advanced semi-automatic or automatic (once redstone becomes available) layout. So enough with the chit-chat and let’s get started farming using this first layout!
In this example, I opted for a farm with a floor area of 12×6 blocks (since this is scalable you can increase it however which way you want). The first thing we’ll need to do is locate where we want to place our first hole (for the water). This is important for us to maximize our farm area. In my case, I opted to place a one-block deep hole on the 2nd row, 2nd column block. To locate the second hole, count two blocks to the right of the first hole. Move up another block and then dig the second hole to the right of that. This method of determining the next block to dig can be used on any of the previous block’s axes (up,down, left, right).
Continue until all possible holes in the area have been dug. Now fill these holes with water and place lily pads/stone slabs over them. This will ensure easier harvesting later on. After planting sugar cane on all available sides of the water blocks all you’ll need to do is wait for them to grow.
The Easy to Harvest Sugar Cane Farm Layout
This layout borrows some concepts from our previous farms (mainly the size). We start off with a 9×9 farm area that has one block deep trenches for the whole 2nd, 5th, and 8th columns. Fill these trenches with water and then start planting sugar cane on the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, and 9th, columns. It’s undoubtedly easier to setup but don’t expect the average yield per area to rival that of the first farm layout.
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Although sugarcane can grow with little to no light, it’s still advisable to come up with a lighting solution to stop mobs from spawning.