Stardew Valley Crop Farming Guide
Everything you ever wanted to know about farming crops in Stardew Valley (and more)

As a farming role playing game, you'll spend a lot of time planting and harvesting crops. Stardew Valley's crop mechanics are solid; simple enough for a beginner to understand but complex enough to warrant this hugely in-depth guide. This guide covers pretty much everything you should know about crop farming and offers a few strategies to maximize your farm's potential.

General Information

Every season is exactly four weeks, that means that the last day of every season is always the 28th. Do not plant crops if it will take too long for the crop to mature. As a general rule of thumb, do not plant any crops after the 21st unless you are planting crops that take four (4) days to mature like parsnips, wheat, and bok choy.

Note: Until you have reached level 10 in farming, I suggest focusing on the number of harvests per season over potential profit. This means planting as much as possible of the following crops per season:

  • Spring: Parsnips, green beans (if planted early in the season)
  • Summer: Hops, corn, peppers, wheat
  • Fall: Grapes, bok choy, cranberries, eggplants

Planting & Harvesting Crops

Generally speaking, you'll want to till and plant most crops in factors of 3 and/or 5 for a few reasons:

  1. Your watering can upgrades to water 3 plots (1x3) in front of you, 5 plots (5x1) in front of you, 9 plots (3x3), and finally 12 plots (6x3).
  2. Some crops, like cauliflower, have a chance to grow into giant crops that roughly doubles the yield of the crop.

For trellises, I like to plant them in groups of 2x5 (so 2x5, 2x10, 2x15, ...) if I'm using a watering can or in 3x3 squares with a sprinkler in the middle.

Note: Remember when harvesting grass type crops, like wheat or kale, that your scrythe will not destroy growing (or unripe) crops. The scythe will not destroy vine or trellis crops; you must use an axe or pickaxe to destroy your crops. Use your pickaxe to destroy tilled ground.

Water your crops everyday. The only times you can take a day off from watering your crops is (1) if it's raining outside or (2) it's the last day of the season.

Scarecrows

Scarecrows prevent crows from eating your crops. Their range is effectively 8 units out from the center (or a 17x17 square with the edges rounded off by 4 units in each corner). It is strongly recommended that you use scarecrows whenever you plant crops outside.

Scarecrows can be crafted at level 2 farming and requires the following materials:

  • 50 wood
  • 20 fiber
  • 1 coal

There are also eight (8) special rarecrows that can be found throughout the game.

 #DescriptionLocation
1 Turnip Head Purchased at the Stardew Valley Fair for 800 star tokens.
2 Witch Purchased at the Spirit's Eve Festival for 5,000g.
3 Alien Can be purchased with 10,000 Qi coins (casino).
4 Snowman Randomly available at the travelling cart in the fall or winter for 4,000g.
5 Straw Lady Purchased at the Flower Festival for 2,500g.
6 Dwarf Purchased from the Dwarf for 2,500g.
7 Rat Donate 20 artifacts to the museum.
8 Tiki Donate 40 artifacts to the museum.

Fertilizer

The base cost of each type of fertilizer is 100g and the quality version of each type is 150g. Fertilizers can only be used on tilled soil and last the entire season; you do not need to refertilize tilled soil. Trees cannot be planted in tilled soil, so they cannot benefit from fertilizer.

Although all types of fertilizers can be crafted, basic and quality fertilizer are the only two that should be created; purchase speed-gro and retaining soil from the store. Since basic fertilizer requires only 2 sap to craft, there is no reason you should ever plant crops without some sort fertilizer.

Stardew Valley generally rewards quantity over quality. Generally speaking, speed-gro is your best option followed closely by fertilizer.

Basic Fertilizer
Quality Fertilizer

Fertilizer improves the quality of crop yield. Basic fertilizer improves yield to 33%/33%/33% and quality fertilizer improves yield to 10%/30%/60%.

Basic Retaining Soil
Quality Retaining Soil

Retaining soil gives crops a chance to retain water overnight effectively reducing the number of times you need to water it.

Unfortunately retaining soil is pretty much useless. Sprinklers are a much better option.

Speed-Gro
Deluxe Speed-Gro

Speed-gro increases the growth rate of crops by 10-40% and deluxe speed-gro increases it by 25-40%. Speed-gro increases growth rate and not yield rate, so vine and trellis crops only produce sooner (not more often).

Sprinklers

Sprinklers allow you to spend less time farming by automatically water tilled soil for you every morning. Start using sprinklers as soon as you possibly can, they are a huge time saver and will let you spend more time doing less monotinous things (like exploring the mines).

Sprinkler

Unlocked at level 3 farming and requires the following materials:

  • 1 copper bar
  • 1 iron bar

Largely useless because it only waters the four adjacent tiles. Best used for flowers or trellis crops where you cannot see if they have already been watered (like hops).

Quality Sprinkler

Unlocked at level 6 farming and requires the following materials:

  • 1 iron bar
  • 1 gold bar
  • 1 refined quartz

Waters the surrounding area (essentially a 3x3 box with the sprinkler in the middle; basically the number 5 on a keypad).

Best used for trellises and early mass scale farming.

Iridium Sprinkler

Unlocked at level 9 farming and requires the following materials:

  • 1 gold bar
  • 1 iridium bar
  • 1 battery pack

Waters in a 5x5 box with the sprinkler in the center.

Best used for mass scale vine and crop farming (non-trellis).

Skip the base sprinklers unless you have a specific use for them; flowers come to mind since you only need one or two flowers for honey farming. Once you get access to quality sprinklers, start planning your farm around them; if you do this well enough, you won't ever have to upgrade your watering can. Iridium sprinklers are kind of overkill but great for mass scale farming, like filling up your greenhouse with berry vines.

Note: Sprinklers are not a good choice for large scale giant crop farming as they tend to get in the way; the largest possible open area when stacking sprinkers is 4x4.

Seed Maker

The seedmaker is unlocked at level 9 farming and requires the following materialize to craft (or from the Dye Bundle at the Community Center):

  • 25 wood
  • 10 coal
  • 1 gold bar

After placing a crop into the seed maker, there are three possible outcomes (most common to least common) after about 20 minutes of in game time:

  1. 1-3 seeds of the input crop
  2. Small chance at mixed seeds
  3. Very small chance at recieving Ancient Seed.

Note: The seed maker does not make sapplings (it does not accept apricots, cherries, oranges, peaches, apples, or pomengranates). It does not create seeds for foraged fruits or vegetables, grapes being a notable exception.

Farming Strategies

The following strategies are the best options for maximing profit middle to late game. It will be difficult to use these strategies at large scale early in the game but they still give you a good idea of how you can set up your farm.

Brewery
Farming hops with kegs

Required Equipment:

  • Hops
  • Keg (1 for each hops trellis)

Recommended Equipment:

  • Iridium or quality sprinklers
  • Greenhouse

Realistically, farming hops is your best strategy. Not only will you level your farming skills faster by harvesting hops every day, it's also one of the most profitable strategies in the game; the only drawback is that hops are on a trellis, not a vine, so it takes up slightly more space than other options.

Plant as many hops as you can handle in the summer (or greenhouse) and save the hops until you get kegs. Hops make product everydays and kegs produce pale ale every, so you'll eventually want a 1:1 ratio of hops to kegs.

Note: In absolute min/max terms, filling up your greenhouse with ancient fruit is your best option, then putting them in a keg, finally selling the wine is the best option. This strategy offers roughly 310 gold per day. Since hops are a trellis (as opposed to a vine), they take up significantly more space but offer similar profit at about 300 gold per day.

Berry Farming
Blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries

Requires:

  • In bloom berry seeds (strawberries in the spring, blueberries in the summer, cranberries in the fall)

Recommended Equipment:

  • One of the following:
    • 1-2 preserves jars per vine 
    • 3-5 kegs per vine
  • Greenhouse
  • Iridium or quality sprinklers

Berry farming is the best simple farming option out there. Plant as many vines as close to each other as possible since you can pass through them and harvest whenever they produce fruit. Cranberries appear to be the absolute best option here (slightly longer reharvest time, but a much better base price), but a lot of people swear by blueberries.

By producing wine, kegs will increase the triple value of your berries over seven (7) days; producing jelly in the preserves jar doubles the value of your berries over two (2) days and adds an additional 50 gold. Kegs offer a higher profit, but you'll need 3-5 kegs for every one berry vine to keep up (but you can always just sell the excess berries without processing them); preserves jar reduce the backlog of berries at a slightly lower profit, so producing jelly is generally considered a better strategy.

Note: Blueberries and cranberries have a chance to yield multiple berries per harvest, therefore slightly outperform strawberries.

Potential Giant Crops
Cauliflower, melon, pumpkin

Required Equipment:

  • Potential giant crop seeds (cauliflower in the spring, melons in the summer, pumpkin in the fall)
  • Watering can
  • Lots of (square) space; best to plant in factors of 3 or 5 squares (3x3, 5x5, 6x6, 9x9, 10x10, 12x12, 15x15, etc.).

Optional Equipment:

  • A good watering can
    • Iron makes it easier to water squares that are factors of five (5).
    • Gold makes it easier to water squares that are factors of three (3).

Planting large, uninterrupted fields of cauliflower, melons, or pumpkins offer very good results, especially in the first year or so if you can't afford berries. If you plant the entire area at the same time, a 5x5 area has nine (9) chances to produce a giant crop.

This strategy works best in squares, sprinklers don't work as well; iridium sprinklers let you have 4x* areas, opposed to 3x3 or 5x5 areas that you can water realitively easily with upgraded watering cans.

Beekeeping
Flower Power!

Required Equipment:

  • One (1) flower of any type
  • Any number of bee houses

Recommened Equipment:

  • Any quality sprinkler (let the base sprinkler shine!)
  • Speed-gro

Often overlooked, beekeeping (flower growing with bee houses) offers a solid return on investment with minimal work (when properly prepared). Due to the mechanics of how bee houses work, one or two flowers can substantially increase the value of honey from a bee house; two flowers with one sprinkler can support 44-50 bee houses (remove two for a path to the inside).

The only seasonal maintenance for beekeeping is replanting two flowers (preferably with speed-gro to reduce downtime); if you don't have a basic sprinkler, you'll need to water flowers for up to twelve (12) days.

Note: If you find that crows are eating your flowers, you can place a scarecrow anywhere near the flowers (or replace one of the bee houses with a scarecrow). The range of the scarecrow is much larger than the bee houses, so it can be placed outside of the schematic.

Crops

Season/Crop/Type (large crop, vine, trellis)/Growth Time/Regrowth/Cost/Sell Price

The following table has a type column:

  • Giant - This crop has the ability to grow as a giant crop. See the Giant Crop section for more information.
  • Grass - Grass crops must be harvested using a scythe.
  • Vine - Vine crops produce multiple yields without replanting seeds.
  • Trellis - Trellis crops are similar to vine crops as the produce multiple yields without replanting but you cannto walk through them.

Note: See the Foraging Guide for information on spring seeds (wild horseradish, daffodil, leek, dandolion), summer seeds (spice berry, grape, sweet pea), fall seeds (common mushroom, wild plum, hazelnut, blackberry), and winter seeds (winter root, crystal fruit, snow yam, crocus). 

SeasonCropTypeGrowth Time (Reharvest)CostSell Price
Spring Parsnip - 4 days 20g/25g 35g
Spring  Garlic - 4 days 40g 60g
Spring Potato - 6 days 50g/62g 80g
Spring Kale Grass 6 days 70g/87g 110g
Spring Cauliflower Giant 12 days 80g/100g 175g
Spring Rhubarb 13 days  100g 220g
Spring Strawberry Vine 8 days (4 days) 100g 120g
Spring Green Bean Vine 10 days (3 days) 60g/75g 40g
Summer Wheat Grass 4 days 10g/12g 25g
Summer Radish - 6 days 40g/50g 90g
Summer Red Cabbage - 9 days 100g 260g
Summer Melon Giant 12 days 80g/100g 250g
Summer Blueberry Vine 13 days (4 days) 80g/100g 80g
Summer Hops Trellis 11 days (1 day) 60g/75g 25g
Summer Tomato Vine 11 days (4 days) 50g/62g 60g
Summer Hot Pepper Vine 5 days (3 days) 40g/50g 40g
Summer/Fall Corn Vine 14 days (4 days) 150g/187g 50g
Fall Bok Choy - 4 days 50g/62g 80g
Fall Beet - 6 days 20g 100g
Fall Amaranth Grass 7 days 70g/87g 150g
Fall Artichoke - 8 days 30g 160g
Fall Yam - 10 days 60g/75g 160g
Fall Pumpkin Giant 13 days 100g/125g 320g
Fall Eggplant Vine 5 days (5 days) 20g/25g 60g
Fall Cranberry Vine 7 days (5 days) 240g/300g 130g
Fall Grape Trellis 10 days (3 days) 60g/75g 80g

 

Special Crops

Special crops are unique to Stardew Valley. Starfruit seeds are purchased from the vendor in the desert, rare seeds (for Sweet Gem Berry) are purchased from the travelling cart, and ancient seeds are found by digging or fishing.

SeasonCropTypeGrowth TimeCostSell Price
Summer Starfruit - 13 days 400g 800g
Fall Sweet Gem Berry (Rare Seed) - 24 days 1,000g 3,000g
Spring/Summer/Fall Ancient Fruit Vine 28 days (7 days) - 750g

Best Overall Crops

Special crops pretty much always outperform other crops but are too difficult to farm on mass scale, so they aren't included below.

By Season 
  • Spring - Strawberry, rhubarb, cauliflower 
  • Summer - Blueberry, starfruit, red cabbage, melon
  • Fall - Sweet gem berry (Rare Seed), cranberry, artichoke, beets

Flowers

Often overlooked, flowers offer a solid return on investment with minimal work (when properly prepared). Due to the mechanics of how bee houses work, one or two flowers can substantially increase the value of honey from a bee house.

SeasonFlowerGrowth TimeCostFlower Sell PriceHoney Sell Price
Spring/Summer/Fall - - - - 100g
Spring Tulip 6 days 20g/30g 30g 160g
Spring Blue Jazz 7 days 30g/37g 50g 200g
Summer Summer Spangle 8 days 50g/62g 90g 280g
Summer Poppy 7 days 100g/125g 140g 380g
Fall Fairy Rose 12 days 200g/250g 290g 680g
Fall Sunflower 8 days 200g/50g 80g -

Bee houses produce wild honey (100g) every 3 days (except in winter!). If a flower is within roughly 5 squares of a bee house, it will produce special honey; if there are multiple types of flowers near the bee house, it will produce honey with the highest value flower. Therefore, it's always a good idea to plant flowers near a bee house.

Note: Bee Houses inside of the greenhouse do not produce honey.

Fruit Trees

Fruit trees require a clear, untilled 3x3 area to grow; this means if you are planting fruit trees next to each other, there must be 2 empty spaces between sapplings (slightly different from wild trees that can be planting one space apart). All trees take 28 days to grow, produce one fruit per day while in season, and can hold up to three fruit at a given time

SeasonCropGrowth TimeCostSell Price
Spring Apricot 28 days (1 fruit/day) 2,000g 50g
Spring Cherry 28 days (1 fruit/day) 3,400g 80g
Summer Orange 28 days (1 fruit/day) 4,000g 100g
Summer Peach 28 days (1 fruit/day) 6,000g 140g
Fall Apple 28 days (1 fruit/day) 4,000g 100g
Fall Pomegranate 28 days (1 fruit/day) 6,000g 140g

All trees provide roughly the same value based on the cost of the tree; basically, they all pay themselves off at roughly the same rate. Because trees pay for themselves rather quickly, those most expensive trees of each season provide the most profit (cherry, peach, and pomegranate).

It's best to plant fruit trees around the outer edge inside your greenhouse. Fruit trees in the green house produce fruit all year round instead of just the season they are in bloom.

Note: See the Foraging Guide for information on oak, maple, and pine trees.

Artisan Good Equipment

Artisan good equipment increases the value of your crops by processing them into new goods. Most crop's value can be increased directly by using some sort of equipment. The only exception is flowers: flowers increase the value of honey, an artisan good, instead of being processed into a higher value good (more on that later).

The level 10 farming profession, Artisan, increases the value of artisan goods by an additional 50%. This profession is worth considering if you plan on using any of the following equipment.

Bee Houses

Bee houses are unlocked at level 3 farming.

Bee House Requirements:

  • 40 wood
  • 8 coal
  • 1 iron bar
  • 1 maple syrup

If you plan on making a lot of bee houses, plant a few maple trees on your farm and tap them as early as possible. The maple syrup requirement is a bigger limiting factor than coal or iron; if you're short on coal or iron, just farm levels 40-50 in the mines.

Preserves Jar

The preserves jar is unlocked once you reach level 4 farming.

Preserves Jar Requirements:

  • 50 wood
  • 40 stone
  • 8 coal 

As mentioned earlier, levels 40-50 in the mines provide lots of coal.

IngredientProductTimeProfit
Any vegetable Pickle 4000 mins (around 2 days)  50g + 2 * (base value)
Any fruit Jelly 4000 mins (around 2 days) 50g + 2 * (base value)

It doesn't make much of a difference for what you put in the preserves jar, everything takes about two days to process and offers the same profit multiplier. For total profit (not considering time), any produce with a base price less than 50g (including foraged goods) make more profit in the preserves jar; this recommendation isn't 100% accurate because the multiplier is a little higher in the keg, but it's a decent rule of thumb.

Kegs

The keg is unlocked once you reach level 8 farming.

Keg Requirements:

  • 30 wood
  • 1 clay
  • 1 copper bar
  • 1 iron bar
  • 1 oak resin

If you plan on making a lot of kegs, make sure you place a tapper on oak trees as soon as possible. Oak resin is arguably the most limiting material for the keg. You shouldn't have much of a problem with clay unless you've built a lot of silos or too many kegs already (don't ever craft retaining soil).

IngredientProductTimeProfit
Wheat Beer 2250 mins* (1~2 Days) 200g
Hops Pale Ale  2360 mins* (1~2 Days) 300g
Any vegetable Juice 6000 mins* (around 4 Days)  2.25 * (base value)
Any fruit Wine 10000 mins* (around 7 Days) 3 * (base value)

As other parts of this guide have mentioned, brewing beer (specifcially pale ale) is the most straight forward and profitable option. Fruit and vegetables take too long to produce juice and wine.

Oil Maker

The oil maker is unlocked at level 8 farming. The benefits to crop farming are minimal (it's ideal usage is for truffle oil from pig farming).

Requires:

  • 50 slime
  • 20 hardwood
  • 1 gold bar
IngredientProductTimeProfit
Truffle Truffle Oil 2250 mins* (5-6 hours) 850g
Corn Oil  2 days 100g
Sunflower Oil 2 days 100g
Sunflower Seeds Oil 2 days 100g

In short, only normal quality sunflowers should be placed in the oil maker; corn should always be put in a preserves jar instead and any silver/gold quality sunflower should be sold normally.

Note (Unconfirmed): Assuming sunflower seeds are sold at JojaMart for 50g, the oil maker provides a 100% return on investment per seed.

Greenhouse

The green house is a prebuilt building on your farm that is unlocked by completing the pantry bundle in the community center. It features a 12x10 plot and a water trough. Any crop from any season can be planted and fruit trees produce fruit year round; fruit trees can be planted outside of the 12x10 plot.

Sprinkers can be placed on the wood railings and trees can be planted outside of the plots. Due to the awkard dimenions of the green house, you'll always need to place at least four (4) iridium sprinklers on the actual plot.

For trellises, planting horizontally (76 trellises, 12 iridium sprinkler) is slightly more efficient than planting vertically (80 trellises, 10 iridium sprinkler, 1 quality sprinkler). Remember that you can fill in the paths with vines if you'd like and that makes up the difference of trellises (but less hops).

Additional Resources

Corey Docken

Corey Docken

Corey has been playing video games all of his life. He learned how to use grid references playing The Legend of Zelda on NES and spent way too much running in front of a TV as a child. He loves the Final Fantasy, Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Dark Souls, and Civilization series and is stil trying to get over the loss of Fable.

Published on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016 at 7:58 PM.
Last updated on Tuesday, April 12th, 2016 at 3:36 PM.