Agriculture provides a good long-term source of food and healing herbs, due to the time difference between sowing crops and harvesting them (around 8 weeks). Crops start to become ready in late summer through to late autumn, though exact times differ depending on the species of plant. All crops except for cereals can be simply picked up but some plants will not yield seeds unless harvested using ALT+A (a cutting tool is required). Plants and cereals must be threshed to obtain their products (usually roots, seeds, leaves and sometimes flowers.)
As of v3.19, animals and birds can (and do!) eat your growing crops and this can have a devastating effect, particularly in smaller fields. Tying a dog to a tree nearby may help protect small fields from crow and hare incursions. Deer and elk are known to lust after turnips, a trap-fence will deter them.
However, a character cannot survive solely on plants. Due to their low nutrition value when raw, plants must be processed in order to be useful. Crop yields can be greatly variable, and plant foods must be supplemented with protein from meat or fish to stop starvation.
In order to start farming, land needs to be prepared with a shovel. This land needs to be fertilized with the remains of a fire. Due to the limitations of the game, it is advisable to plant large (20x20 or even bigger) fields two or three tiles away from your main settlement. A fence can be built around large farms to prevent foreign traders from triggering the item overflow bug, though this is a lot of work.
Steps to planting a square:
- Light a fire on a square and let it burn out
- Stand on the square with the burnt-out fire
- ALT-A to open the Agricuture Option and Prepare the Soil (you will need a shovel)
- Wait until the ground cools (Takes a day or so)
- ALT-A to Plant/sow
Note: You can plant multiple seeds on a single tile but some will not sprout.
Steps to harvesting a square:
- Wait until the crop is ready to harvest (using ALT+A - HARVEST will inform you if the crop is ripe)
- Have a cutting tool and use ALT+A to reap what you sowed (this will drop the full-grown plant to the tile)
- Stand over the plants and use ALT+A to THRESH this will give you leaves, roots, seeds and flowers
- Rejoice and praise the spirits
- Remember to conserve some seeds for replanting next Swidden
Notes: Unknown plants can be harvested in the same way and thus be stockpiled until identified. The most efficient tool for harvest as of 3.32 is the masterwork woodsman's axe. (requests cutting tool, tested with various knives sickle and various axes on unknown grass.) Some herbs have an additional flowering stage and can be harvested then to gain flowers. They will say flowering in their description. Berries are harvested by hand and give only berries which cannot be replanted.
This is the schedule for a farmer
See the plants page for more detailed information about individual plants. It's important to make sure plants have enough time to grow from the day they are planted before the start of their withering month. (Months have 30 days, except Hay and Center, which have 32.)
If plants are fully grown before they start withering, they can still be harvested. The withering process ends in the latter half of the withering month making the plants unharvestable. A plants withering condition can be checked by examining withkey. If the plant is still withering, it can be harvested and examining it tells how long until it withers (e.g. a week).
CHANGE: from v3.18 onward months' names are changed but the below still keep both names for ease of use across all versions.
* These won't sprout until the next month starts, but they have a long growing time so its advantageous to plant them early.
Time to prepare new soils if you see there's more seeds than planned.
Priority: Rye, Barley, Hemp, Peas, Turnip
Still can plant: Peas(until last week), Turnips, Broadbeans, Clayweed
Prepare new soils if you feel like more turnips
Still can plant: Broadbeans (first week), Turnip (until last week), the first two weeks: Yarrow, Nettle, Sorrel
Harvest: In the last weeks: Nettle, Sorrel, Yarrow
Harvest: Rye, Barley, Turnip, Peas, Hemp, Broadbeans, Clayweed, Nettle, Sorrel, Yarrow
Planting: Rye*, Barley*, Turnip*
Harvest: Rye, Barley
Starts withering: Rye, Barley, Turnip, Peas, Nettle
* These won't sprout until the next Seedtime (May).
Planting: Rye*, Barley*, Turnip*
Starts withering: Hemp, Sorrel, Yarrow, Clayweed
* These won't sprout until the next Seedtime (May). See Autumn planting below for more details.
Starts withering: Broadbeans
As you can see, Turnips, with great effort and care, can give two crops a year.
- Grainflail - A valuable type of agricultural tool and impovised weapon.
- Shovel - A particularly valuable type of agricultural tool and construction tool.
- Sickle - A valuable type of agricultural tool and impovised weapon.
- Wooden shovel - A particularly valuable type of agricultural tool and construction tool.