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The Starver's Guide to Self-Feeding Farms


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This guide is now fully up to date and, hopefully, finalized.

Guess who had a ton of free time on his hands and decided to compile a list of all the "major" crop combinations that require a grand total of zero nutrients to grow, meaning you only need to take care of tending and watering.

Note, the combinations listed here must exist within each individual soil tile for this to work; crops in one tile cannot feed crops in an adjacent tile.

But first, have a free table of farm plant stats as of the latest patch. (The wiki's page had not been properly updated when this was made, so I had to make my own table to figure things out.)

crops.thumb.png.9a6d40b7b573393df5a446dee5a91696.png
 

Now, on to the possible configurations of a self-feeding farm...

 

Type A: Three Different Crops in Equal Amounts (1:1:1 Ratio)

layout1.thumb.png.50853413ca4977da51d06d93201dbe3d.png

Note: Apparently, using the snapping till mod allows you to place the plants close enough that they all meet the family criteria, but I am not sure whether this is possible without that mod. Theoretically, it should be, but it would take some insane precision. Also, I replaced my original column design with the one proposed by @kuroite a few comments below.

This is by far the most common configuration. Unfortunately, it's also got a tiny imperfection: the 4 plants at the corner of this layout will always fail to meet the family requirement, meaning they will grow slower and will not become oversized. However, the imperfection does not scale with the size of the farm, so a 10x10 farm plot will produce a max of 900 plants, of which only 4 will be non-giant.

Combinations that can be done with this layout:

Spoiler

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Type B: Two Crops in Equal Amounts

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The minimalist of the bunch, contained entirely in a single tile, with 4 of each plant. I've arranged the plants in L shapes to ensure the family requirement is met. It goes without saying that you can copy-paste that same tile to make this farm as big or as small as you want.

Combinations that can be done with this layout:

Spoiler

list2.png.9b07fd7876e62006243e6d8e738ae1c7.png

 

 

Type C: Two Crops at a 2:1 Ratio

layout3.thumb.png.f025a8f745859dbdabce353f07e49757.png

This one requires a 1x2 farm plot (and multiple of that, of course). The minority plants must be facing others of their kind to meet the family requirement and grow giant.

Combinations that can be done with this layout:

Spoiler

list3.thumb.png.d611241b200a799591726816e61928b3.png

 

 

Type D: Three Crops at a 2:1:1 Ratio

layout4.thumb.png.6967ebf6c6f6528e940e29f2ac1236d3.png

This one is a tad more complicated than the previous three, but I figured it was worth adding just because of the amount of combinations it brings to the table.

Speaking of which, the combinations you can do with this layout:

Spoiler

list4.thumb.png.425b5c8a6cbfb6146c2123b931ce3615.png

 

 

All the above combinations in concise plain text, for those who want to Ctrl+F their way to them:

Spoiler

AUTUMN:

  • Corn + Carrot/Pumpkin + Potato/Eggplant
  • Garlic + Onion + Pepper
  • Toma Root + Potato/Eggplant
  • 2x Toma Root + Pepper
  • 2x Carrot/Pumpkin + Garlic + Pepper
  • 2x Corn + Onion + Pepper
  • 2x Toma Root + Potato + Eggplant
  • 2x Potato/Eggplant + Garlic + Onion

 

WINTER:

  • Asparagus + Potato + Carrot/Pumpkin

 

SPRING:

  • Carrot + Corn/Asparagus + Potato/Eggplant
  • Dragon Fruit + Durian/Garlic + Onion/Pomegranate
  • Toma Root + Potato/Eggplant
  • Watermelon + Carrot
  • 2x Watermelon + Pomegranate/Onion
  • 2x Toma Root + Dragon Fruit
  • 2x Carrot + Dragon Fruit + Durian/Garlic
  • 2x Potato/Eggplant + Durian/Garlic + Onion/Pomegranate
  • 2x Asparagus + Dragon Fruit + Onion/Pomegranate
  • 2x Toma Root + Potato + Eggplant

 

SUMMER:

  • Garlic + Onion/Pomegranate + Dragon Fruit/Pepper
  • 2x Toma Root + Dragon Fruit/Pepper
  • 2x Watermelon + Onion/Pomegranate
  • 2x Corn + Dragon Fruit/Pepper + Onion/Pomegranate

 

But what about all these other combinations?

I had considered throwing a bunch more layouts into this guide, but all it would have achieved is create a ton of bloat. The above 4 combinations will probably cover all your farming needs anyway. And if they do not, you can find most of the more complicated combinations (that will still give you giant crops) simply by partially replacing one crop with another that has the same stats.

For example, if you got 3 carrots in your setup, you can easily replace 1 or 2 of them with a Pumpkin, provided those are in season. And just like that you have a 3:3:2:1 combination. Which is a bad example, cause I don't think it's actually possible for that to give you all giant crops. :P
 

How much water do my crops need to grow giant?

You only need to water the soil once per growth stage if you are growing giants. It doesn't matter what combination of plants we are talking about or what the Plant Registry says about their moisture consumption habits or even if you are using a self-feeding combo or ol' fashioned fertilizers. Paradoxical as it may sound, giant crops need less water than non-giant ones because they grow the fastest and thus need to spend less time on wet soil.

 

I did everything perfectly but some of my plants did not grow giant. What gives?

Your farm plants are just not that into you.

While these combos (and other combos listed in other guides) do have a net nutrient drain of zero, there is one caveat. Plants cannot produce nutrient if they do not first get the nutrients they need. Suppose you have a Potato and a Toma Root. If the Potato is the first to go from the seed stage to the small stage, it will attempt to consume 8 Manure from the ground. If it succeeds, it will produce 4 Formula and 4 Compost to feed the Toma Root and you'll get a perfect cycle of nutrient exchange.

But if the soil has less than 8 Manure when the Potato grows, it will gain 1 point of Stress and it will produce a proportionally smaller amount of the other two nutrients. This can trigger a chain reaction, with the Toma Root also failing to get adequate nutrition and thus not producing enough manure for the Potato's next transition and so on and so forth.

So, you still want to put enough fertilizer into the ground so that, no matter the order in which plants transition from the 1st to the 2nd stage, they'll always find enough nutrients on the soil. Ideally, you could top up a farm tile with nutrients (72 or more of each; any more won't be particularly useful for combos) and, so long as you only use crop combos in that tile, you'll never have to fertilize it again.

 

That's all, folks!

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Dang, this is really helpful. I was trying to grow Pomegranates the other day, and they are super expensive and heavy duty. They take a lot of water, and a ton of growth formula, it was ridiculous. Now I know that I can grow Pomegranates beside Watermelons for automatic fertilization. Thanks a ton.

Also, could I put 4 Watermelons and 2 Pomegranates in one tile and it would self fertilize? And if so, would the Watermelon be the only ones who would get the family bonus?

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Neat, the columns is such a simple but elegant solution! I was trying to solve the problem with 3 crops and really overthought it, here is my 4 crop solution:

3 "expensive" crops (garlic, onion and dragonfruit/durian) and 1 "cheap" crop (tomato):20201128172659_1.thumb.jpg.52afb065f7dd82dd53aab17da49c44d5.jpg

Yes, you get a ton of tomatoes and you need 4 more farm tiles, but at least my OCD is satisfied :lol:

harvest:

20201128173438_1.thumb.jpg.734cdcf0d531ff6b4818c5a3de7b196e.jpg

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41 minutes ago, thegreatJash said:

Dang, this is really helpful. I was trying to grow Pomegranates the other day, and they are super expensive and heavy duty. They take a lot of water, and a ton of growth formula, it was ridiculous. Now I know that I can grow Pomegranates beside Watermelons for automatic fertilization. Thanks a ton.

Also, could I put 4 Watermelons and 2 Pomegranates in one tile and it would self fertilize? And if so, would the Watermelon be the only ones who would get the family bonus?

Yeah, so long as you maintain the 2:1 ratio within the borders of the tile, the crops will feed each other. The Pomegranates will need to be facing the pomegranate-side of the adjacent tile to get the family bonus, though. Just like in my Type C farm (the two dragonfruit columns are in separate tiles). Otherwise, the pomegranates will grow a little more slowly, which might be bad for the nutritional balance, and they definitely won't become giant.

In regards to watering: Water each tile once in the seed stage, twice in the sprout stage, once in the small stage and once in the medium stage.

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1 minute ago, kuroite said:

For the 3 types crop i think something like that could be a little bit better.

ooo.PNG.aa3775b84bed822069ee7d7c317474b1.PNG

But im just nitpicking.

I like this. The 4 corners plants would still be isolated, but that's better than the 8 isolated plants in my design. (Oh, yeah, it's 8, not 4; I should correct that)

Plus, again, the imperfection won't scale with size, so it gets better if you double or quadruple the plot size.

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1 hour ago, QuartzBeam said:

Yeah, so long as you maintain the 2:1 ratio within the borders of the tile, the crops will feed each other. The Pomegranates will need to be facing the pomegranate-side of the adjacent tile to get the family bonus, though. Just like in my Type C farm (the two dragonfruit columns are in separate tiles). Otherwise, the pomegranates will grow a little more slowly, which might be bad for the nutritional balance, and they definitely won't become giant.

In regards to watering: Water each tile once in the seed stage, twice in the sprout stage, once in the small stage and once in the medium stage.

Is i possible to fit 9 plants in one plot, 6 Watermelons and 3 Pomegranates, and if so, will the Pomegranates get the family bonus from each other on just the single plot?

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5 minutes ago, thegreatJash said:

Is i possible to fit 9 plants in one plot, 6 Watermelons and 3 Pomegranates, and if so, will the Pomegranates get the family bonus from each other on just the single plot?

Yes, you can fit 9 plants in one plot. But 3 pomegranates with no more nearby won't cut it. You need 4 of the same plant to get the family bonus.

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Its important to note these aren't all the possible combinations.

These are the "perfect combinations" that are ideal for specific giant crop growth. However, as long as the nutrient values are not in the negative you can get away with weird things like 5 crops of 1 and 2 crops of 2. Naturally this results in less giant crops, but is great for early game and variety farming.

In short, experiment around aswell!

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Very helpful! This whole update is just so...overwhelming.  I can't be the only one whose head is spinning with trying to remember all these stats and different things you fertilize them with and....(shakes head)  GAH.

Stupid questions...

1.  I assume each specific seed type is named, otherwise you wouldn't be able to plan farms at all, but how do you GET the specific seeds in the first place?  I'm guessing they're not on the ground.  Do you plant just...whatever, hope it grows, and then feed the resulting plants to a bird?  Is _that_ how you get specific seeds?  Are you now REQUIRED to have a bird before you even start farming?  Before those two things went together well, but it wasn't _necessary_.

2.  I play alone a lot. 
I go on long trips away a lot.
...exactly HOW badly messed up is my farm gonna be when I get back...?

3.  I'm imagining myself having to take up entire inventory slots for each type of seed until I get enough of each one to set up one of these patterns (or ANY pattern).  That sounds like...fun...  (Or slots in the refrigerator, which is also annoying.)  If that's true,  I'd become even more of a Backpack Always-er than I am now...

At first I was for this update 'cos we could have bigger farms, more than just one individual plant off of each crop, and the crops were now seasonal _and a few even grow in WINTER_!, but with all this to keep track of, it seems like a big dizzying annoying headache.  Please, help me out here.  I'm thinking of (after the beta) looking for a mod that would put farming back to the original version, at this point! (but that would probably be really hard to code as it would have to change a LOT of things)...  Tell me reasons why it's not actually that bad, if possible?

...Notorious

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1 hour ago, CaptainChaotica said:

1. Supongo que se nombra cada tipo de semilla específico; de lo contrario, no sería posible planificar las granjas, pero ¿cómo OBTENER las semillas específicas en primer lugar? Supongo que no están en el suelo. ¿Planta simplemente ... lo que sea, espere que crezca y luego le dé las plantas resultantes a un pájaro? ¿Así es como se obtienen semillas específicas? ¿Ahora SE REQUIERE tener un pájaro antes de empezar a cultivar? Antes esas dos cosas iban bien juntas, pero no era _necesario_.

When you sow a normal seed, a random plant will grow, regardless of its season, to get the specific seeds you just have to feed a bird with the fruit. In other words, it is not necessary to start planting, but if you want to have a farm with specific products it is

1 hour ago, CaptainChaotica said:

2. Juego mucho solo. 
Hago muchos viajes largos.
... ¿Exactamente cuán desordenada estará mi granja cuando regrese ...?

Plants that are abandoned will attack you with vines when you try to harvest them, farms are not essential, so if you cannot take care of them you always have the option of not building them. My mistake, they only grow slower and will produce the least amount of products.

1 hour ago, CaptainChaotica said:

3. Me estoy imaginando a mí mismo teniendo que ocupar espacios de inventario completos para cada tipo de semilla hasta obtener lo suficiente de cada uno para establecer uno de estos patrones (o CUALQUIER patrón). Eso suena como ... divertido ... (O ranuras en el refrigerador, lo que también es molesto). Si eso es cierto, me convertiría en una mochila siempre más de lo que soy ahora ...

I think the best option is to always stick with a planting system that suits you the most depending on your situation, on average you should use a total of 2 ~ 5 types of seeds per season, so you will need some ice boxes.

It's not as hard as it looks! Plus, you'll always have the field research hat that gives you information about the plants.

Also, the most time consuming part of the farms is their construction, once you have the holes to plant, before heading out to explore it should only take half a minute to water and play music with a one man band. If you take trips that last many days, I think the new pet (that fruit fly) helps to take care of the off-screen crops

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7 minutes ago, Adam_Webster said:

Plants that are abandoned will attack you with vines when trying to harvest them, farms are not essential, so if you cannot take care of them you always have the option of not building them.

Whaa?

That's not a thing. Plants that are abandoned will grow more slowly, but they will give at least 1 veggie. Depending on whether they are in-season and weed-free, they will also drop 1 seed.

Speaking of weeds, the thing that attacks you with vines is one of them. The Spiny Bindweed. It traps you when you try to harvest plants close to it, but you can dig it up to remove it.

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1 minute ago, QuartzBeam said:

Hablando de malas hierbas, lo que te ataca con enredaderas es una de ellas. La enredadera espinosa. Te atrapa cuando intentas cosechar plantas cercanas a él, pero puedes desenterrarlo para eliminarlo.

I did not know about that, I think I confused them when I was planting all the seeds in the same plot without watering them or playing music, I'll fix it!

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Cuando siembras una semilla normal, crecerá una planta aleatoria, independientemente de su estación, para obtener las semillas específicas solo tienes que alimentar a un pájaro con la fruta. En otras palabras, no es necesario empezar a plantar, pero si quieres tener una finca con productos específicos es

--To Google Translate!  (Oldschool Batman sound effect)

Okay so my answer to that first one is:  Yes, it does work the way I thought.  Oof.  So your first farms are always going to be unbalanced and need...something.  I don't even know the difference between formula and fertilizer...(I know there IS one, I just don't know why we need _both_.  Isn't just fertilizing enough?)

27 minutes ago, Adam_Webster said:

Las plantas que están abandonadas te atacarán con enredaderas cuando intentes cosecharlas, las granjas no son imprescindibles, así que si no puedes cuidarlas siempre tienes la opción de no construirlas. My mistake, they only grow slower and will produce the least amount of products.

YIKES I'm glad that first part turned out to not be true!  I was just reminded of how, if you stay away for too long in Slime Rancher, you'll get hangry Slimes breaking out of their cages and slamming into you...

Third part:  A ONE-MAN BAND?!  (dies laughing)  Oh, mygod.  This new update is nuts.  I mean I know the thing about singing to your plants is supposed to help them grow, but XD.

I probably won't be using a fruit fly unfortunately, since I usually go with the kitty for a pet.  Guess I gotta go befriend the Harvest Gnomes if I want my crops taken care of while I'm away oh wait wrong game...

...Notorious

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What a messy comment from me, sorry! xD

18 minutes ago, CaptainChaotica said:

I probably won't be using a fruit fly unfortunately, since I usually go with the kitty for a pet.  Guess I gotta go befriend the Harvest Gnomes if I want my crops taken care of while I'm away oh wait wrong game...

It is a pet like chester or glommer, I think I would have said a better companion

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For anyone that cares, I made a little google sheet using that farm diagram, PLUS some extra tid bits attached to it, like general rules and a blank tempelate.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1X3zhzFjkMAz7PgYgUSnXzEMW94EN_YjKwAubgQ0BPj8/edit?usp=sharing

Also it doubles up as a puzzle, wonder if 100% happiness is possible with a 4x4 farm tiling...

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12 hours ago, Fill-Lips said:

Also it doubles up as a puzzle, wonder if 100% happiness is possible with a 4x4 farm tiling...

It's not possible to make the corner plants 100% happy if you are use a 3:3:3 setup.

They would need to have 3 other crops of the same time in that same tile, but that would mean a total of 4 identical crops inside one tile, which wouldn't be a 3:3:3 setup anymore.

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