Farming can only be done on fertile land, designated by fences corners. Each crop must have a hole dug for it with a shovel, seeds put in the hole, and then that seedling watered with a filled bucket. Crops usually take about 2-3 days to grow, and must be watered approximately every day at least or they will dry up, halting growth and eventually dying if neglected long enough. Dry crops are recognizable by their less saturated colors and occasional twitching.
Once a crop is fully grown, it must be harvested by hand, with yield varying per crop. When harvesting, there is a chance to also find seeds for that plant. Potatoes, Onions and Carrots need to be dug up and replanted (but have a higher yield per harvest, including seeds), all others will begin growing the next harvest immediately. All plants can be dug up to get back their seeds (even if the plant could be harvested, you will receive only the seeds). In the original release of the game, this also used to be the way to get your first seeds for Carrots (main island), Eggplant (western island), Pumpkin (southwestern island) and Rice (southern island). In current versions of the game, seeds can be found in chests, and the seed drop rate from harvesting has been greatly reduced.
Later in the game, players will be given spice seeds as crew rewards. They can also be found in chests in places requiring a ladder or rope (see individual articles). Spices grow slower than other crops and have a higher water consumption.
Crops have 5 stages, each represented by a different look of the plant. They start at stage 1 when planted. Plants that can be harvested multiple times will start at stage 3 after each harvest. The time from stage to stage depends on the type of crop, so does the time after watering until the soil gets brighter. After that and after putting a seed, the soil will become completely dry after 4 hours, no matter what seed was planted. When soil is completely dry, there will be dust clouds and the plants will shake. After 5 days in this condition, the plant will die and must be dug up and replanted.
|Crop||Stage 1 to 2||Stage 2 to 3||Stage 3 to 4||Stage 4 to 5||Seed to harvest||Harvest to harvest||Soil gets brighter after|
|Carrot||16 hours||16 hours||16 hours||16 hours||64 hours||—||20 hours|
|Cob of Corn||6 hours||6 hours||6 hours||6 hours||24 hours||12 hours||28 hours|
|Eggplant||8 hours||8 hours||24 hours||24 hours||64 hours||48 hours||20 hours|
|Onion||8 hours||8 hours||8 hours||8 hours||32 hours||—||28 hours|
|Potato||12 hours||12 hours||12 hours||12 hours||48 hours||—||28 hours|
|Pumpkin||8 hours||8 hours||16 hours||16 hours||48 hours||32 hours||20 hours|
|Rice||8 hours||8 hours||32 hours||32 hours||80 hours||64 hours||20 hours|
|Tomato||8 hours||8 hours||16 hours||16 hours||48 hours||32 hours||28 hours|
|Allspice Powder||16 hours||16 hours||40 hours||40 hours||112 hours||80 hours||12 hours|
|Black Pepper||16 hours||16 hours||40 hours||40 hours||112 hours||80 hours||12 hours|
|Cane Sugar||16 hours||16 hours||32 hours||32 hours||96 hours||64 hours||12 hours|
|Chili Flakes||16 hours||16 hours||24 hours||24 hours||80 hours||48 hours||12 hours|
|Fresh Thyme||16 hours||16 hours||24 hours||24 hours||80 hours||48 hours||12 hours|
|Ginger Root||16 hours||16 hours||32 hours||32 hours||96 hours||64 hours||12 hours|
Hours in the above table are in-game hours, assuming that a day has 24 hours (12 daytime and 12 nighttime hours). That means each of the four sections on the "clock" equals three hours. Plants grow at the same speed in the day or night, and whether the soil is wet (dark) or in the 4-hour stage of drying up (a little brighter), but being completely dry pauses plant growth.
When Fiona’s third bonus is active, all times related to water consumptions are tripled, e.g. it takes 12 hours for a plant to drain the initial water.
Before the Foundation Update, Corn took 4 hours for each of the first two stages and 8 hours for each of the other two. This means that the first harvest takes the same time as before, but all subsequent harvests take 25% less time. This is contrary to the patch notes that claimed to have slowed growth.