Ancient Mesopotamian Farming

In ancient Mesopotamia, there were a lot of crops to grow. But the floods in that region were very destructive, violent and unpredictable. The climate was also not suitable for farming throughout the year.


The climate of Mesopotamia was generally dry and there was very little rainfall so all these factors contributed to unsuccessful farming in this region. So to overcome this problem of farming Mesopotamians became depended on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

Farmers had to find ways to find water for their crops. Floods sometimes caused rivers to change courses. A lot of trouble is caused to the farmers’ crops when river changed its course. One of the ways that they were able to control this was through developing a system for controlling the flow and direction of water from the river.


Canals and irrigation ditches were built for redirecting the water to the fields used for farming. Regulators were then used to raise and lower the water levels in the canals and ditches so the water could be used by the farmers. During the growing season, each farmer was allowed only a certain amount of water.

When it was a farmer’s turn to water his fields the regulator was adjusted so that water ran from the canal into an irrigation ditch which ran alongside the farmer’s fields. The farmer could then water his fields. Irrigation helped tremendously. The silt left over from the flooding of these rivers made the soil fertile. Irrigation produced an extra supply of food.


With the help of farming, Farmers raised grain, fruit, vegetables, and barn yard animals. Farmers changed their houses from reed house to brick houses. They plowed ground with stone hoes. The metal plows had a funnel shape. They filled containers with seeds. Cows would pull plow seed and the seeds would go into the ground. This method was quick and easy.

Sumerians had handbooks that told much how to plant crops. In ancient Mesopotamia wheat and barley were most important grown crops by the Sumerians. Shade trees protected trees from harsh winds and from the sun. Some of the fruits they planted were dates, grapes, figs, melons, and apples. Their favorite vegetables that they grew were the eggplant.

They planted vegetables such as onions, radishes, beans, and lettuce. Farmers irrigated land and started planting wheat, barley, millet, beans, and sesame seeds. They used spears to hunt, caught fish in nets, and killed birds with sling shots and arrows. Sumerians got their food from nearby marshes and rivers. Soon, Mesopotamia became a very rich farming ground.

The farmers is ancient Mesopotamia even used their crops as a medium of trade. They did not have enough money so they traded crops for things like lumber and stone. So farming in ancient Mesopotamia was a huge contributor towards the development of Mesopotamia as a civilization.