Farming Wheat in Minecraft
Wheat is a great staple food; can be made into bread, and is also an ingredient for cake and cookies. It's also necessary for feeding sheep, cows and pigs if you want to breed livestock.
Growing wheat requires seeds, farmland (preferably irrigated) and light. Advanced farming techniques involve using water for harvesting, but planting has to be done manually.
Basics of Wheat Farming
Wheat seeds are obtained by destroying tall grass; each time you break a long grass block there is a chance of getting some seeds. You will also get seeds when you harvest your wheat, so you only need a few handfuls to start with.
Farmland is made by working on dirt or grass blocks with a hoe. Like other tools, a hoe is made from sticks plus iron, stone, or planks.
To create farmland, equip your hoe and right click on a dirt or grass block. Farmland blocks are not quite as tall as normal dirt, and have a different top surface.
Farmland will quickly revert to dirt if it is jumped on (by you or by mobs), so it may be a good idea to build a fence around it if you keep livestock. You can walk on farmland safely (in previous versions of the game you had to hold down 'shift' but this is no longer necessary).
Farmland can be irrigated by placing water nearby. Water should be on the same level as the blocks you are trying to irrigate. Water can irrigate farmland up to four blocks away, even diagonally; this means one water block can irrigate 80 blocks in a 9x9 square. Irrigation spreads slowly however, so parallel streams of water anywhere up to 8 blocks apart are more practical. Unirrigated farmland will revert to dirt.
Wheat needs light to grow: a minimum light level of 9 is required (ie. not more than 5 blocks away from a torch if you're farming indoors). It's worth lighting up outdoor farms too, to that wheat will also grow at night.
Building a farm
You can plant wheat seeds on any farmland, preferably near water and well-lit. You will soon want to build a more efficient farm, however.
With seeds in hand, right-click to plant them. Hold down shift if you're walking on your farmland.
Wheat is ready to harvest when it turns slightly brown (see also the picture at the top of the page).
Speeding things up
If you have collected some bones (from killing skeletons) then you can make bonemeal to fertilize your crops. Right-click on your growing wheat and it will mature instantly.
Harvest wheat by whacking it with whatever you have in your hand. You will receive wheat and seeds for the next planting. The goodies will be strewn all over your field &emdash; when you collect them, remember to hold down shift so you don't destroy your farmland.
An alternative harvesting method involves diverting a flow of water over your crops to collect wheat and seeds. This means you don't need to walk on fields to collect your harvest.
Replant your seeds, and enjoy your wheat!
Advanced Farming Techniques
If you want to grow a lot of wheat, you might want to consider building a large scale wheat farm using water flowing over the field to harvest.