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Farming - The Basics

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Farming enables you to grow various resources that can be used in a number of other skills, such as Herblore and Cooking, as well as providing you with a source of raw food.

Seeds and Farming Patches

sweetcorn growing.jpg
Sweetcorn growing in a full patch

All around the game world you will find special patches where you may plant seeds to grow crops. These are the Farming patches. When you have some seeds to grow, you can take them to a suitable Farming patch to plant them. After a while they will start to grow, and eventually you will have a patch of fully-grown crops ready to harvest. When you've harvested your crops, you'll be able to plant more seeds in the patch.

Each Farming patch is designed for a specific type of crop: herb patches are the place for growing herbs, flower patches are for growing flowers (including the useful limpwurt plant); allotments are for growing vegetables and crops such as tomatos and strawberries. On the Farming - Patches page you'll learn about the full range of Farming patches and see where in the world they may be found.

Planting Crops

The simplest crops are grown by planting the seed directly into a suitable, empty Farming patch. You'll need to have a seed dibber to do this - don't worry, they're not expensive. See the Farming Tools article for details of where to get the basic Farming tools. For crops such as vegetables and hops, you'll need to plant three or four seeds to get the crop growing. Herbs, flowers and bushes may be grown from only one seed. For example, to plant marigold seeds, use one seed on an empty flower patch; to plant potato seeds, use 3 seeds on an empty allotment.

Bigger plants, such as trees and fruit trees, cannot be planted directly as seeds. Instead you will need to plant them in a plant pot (you can buy these from the Farming shops or craft your own at a pottery wheel) which gives you 1 Farming XP. Before you can plant a seed in your plant pot, you must fill the pot with soil by using it on an empty Farming patch; you'll need a gardening trowel to do this. Once you've planted the seed in the plant pot, just sprinkle some water on it from a watering can - both of these actions give you 1 Farming XP. It'll grow into a sapling after a few minutes, just leave it in your inventory or bank while you wait. When the sapling's grown, use it on an empty tree patch or fruit tree patch to transplant the sapling into the patch. You'll need a spade to do this.

If a Farming patch is left unused, it will start to grow weeds. Before you can grow anything in the patch, you'll need to use a rake on it to clear away the weeds. Keep hold of the weeds you get - you'll find a use for them later!

Once your crops are growing, you'll have a while to wait before they are fully grown. Simple crops grow in about half an hour, but big trees can take hours or days. They'll grow even if you're not logged in, so you don't have to spend all that time standing by the patch! Keen farmers will often keep moving from one patch to another, checking on their crops and harvesting anything that becomes fully grown, then planting more crops and moving on to check another patch. Don't forget to carry teleport runes with you - it can be a long way between Farming patches!

Crops can sometimes become diseased while they're growing. When your crops become diseased, don't panic. For small plants, such as vegetables or herbs, you just need to pour a vial of plant cure over them, and they'll be restored to health immediately. Trees may be cured by pruning them with secateurs. Both plant cure and secateurs may be bought at the Farming shops. If you don't cure your diseased plants, they'll eventually die. If you're unlucky enough to find some of your plants dead, just get a spade and dig up the patch.

There are plenty of ways to protect crops from disease. In the sections that follow, we'll look at all the various options.

Compost

Compost inventory icon

When it comes to harvesting crops, those planted in patches that have been treated with compost are less likely to become diseased, and should yield more produce. There are two ways in which you can obtain compost:

  1. You can buy it from the Farming shops, gardeners at the patches, or other players.
  2. You can make it yourself.

For someone new to Farming, it is probably best to make your own compost. This will increase your knowledge of Farming, as well as save you money.

To make compost

Compost is made in compost bins, which can be found near all the major vegetable patch areas. Most organic items can be put into the bins. You will need to put fifteen compostable items inside the bins to produce compost.

The following can be placed in compost bins to produce compost:

Alternatively, if you forget this list, you can just show the item to a gardener and they will tell you.

When the bin is completely full, close the lid - this will start the rotting process. You will not be able to open the lid until this rotting process is complete. Once the vegetation has become fully rotten, you can begin to fill any empty buckets you have with compost.

Super compost Members icon

You will need to put fifteen super-compostable items inside the bins to produce super compost.

Some organic items can be used to make super compost.

The following can be placed in compost bins to produce super compost:

If you forget this list, you can just show the item to a gardener and they will tell you if an item is super-compostable. Super compost is used in the same way as normal compost, but is far more effective at preventing disease and increasing crop yields; though it is more difficult to make.

Fruits or vegetables used to make normal compost cannot be used to make super compost in the compost bins.

If you place some super-compostable and normal compostable items into the bin it will produce normal compost. To produce super compost you must only put super-compostable items into the bin.

For example:

  • Adding 5 watermelons + 10 pineapples will give super compost
  • Adding 4 watermelons + 10 pineapples + 1 weed will give normal compost

You can also use the compost bins to make rotten tomatoes, just add tomatoes into the bin and close the lid. When they have completely rotted you will be able to open the lid and use them on unsuspecting players in the duel arena or pillory.

Making compost gives you experience as shown in the table below:

Item Experience Gained
(per bucket filled)
Compost inventory icon
Compost
4.5
Supercompost inventory icon
Supercompost
8.5
Rotten tomato inventory icon
Tomato
4.5

Growth

The various plants available for budding farmers to grow will generally take different amounts of time to reach full maturity. Some take a short amount of time to grow before they can be harvested, while others take several days to grow. Plants grow in real-time, so they continue to grow while you are logged out of the game.

Your crops will sometimes become diseased while they're growing. Compost and supercompost reduce the chance of your crops catching disease, but do not prevent it completely. Once you have learned how long it takes plants to grow, you may want to check on your plants regularly to ensure they grow successfully.

Note that you do not have to stand around at a patch waiting for your crops to grow. They will happily continue to grow on their own even if you are not there. Remember that you can grow certain flowers to automatically protect some allotment crops, pay gardeners to look after your crops for you and attune an amulet of Farming/nature to a patch to keep an eye on it.

Even if a patch does get diseased or die, it might still be better to spend your time planting crops in a different patch somewhere else or doing something else entirely, rather than hanging around waiting for your crops to grow. Also, if your crop is fully grown, there is no longer any chance of it becoming diseased or dying, so you are free to return to it for harvesting at your convenience. The friendly Farming patch spirit will occasionally pop up to remind beginning farmers of these facts.

Disease

By using compost, you will help ensure your plants' survival, but it does not prevent disease from infecting your crops.

Flowers planted in the flower patches of Farming allotments give protection from pests and disease to the plants planted around them. Flowers and scarecrows can only protect certain types of plant from disease, however, with the exception of white lilies, which will protect all of your adjacent fruit and vegetables. The table below provides information about which items grant protection and to what plants they give it.

Item Protects
Marigolds inventory icon
Marigolds
Onions
Potatoes
Tomatoes
Rosemary inventory icon
Rosemary Members icon
Cabbages
Nasturtium inventory icon
Nasturtium Members icon
Watermelons
White Lily inventory icon
White lily Members icon
All adjacent fruit and vegetables
Scarecrow inventory icon
Scarecrow Members icon
Sweetcorn


A similar table can be opened in-game by clicking on the "Farming" icon within the Skills section of your control panel.

If you wish to make a scarecrow simply follow these instructions:

  1. Fill an empty sack with straw from a haystack.
  2. Drive the hay sack onto a bronze spear.
  3. Place a watermelon on top as a head.
  4. Stand the scarecrow in an empty flower patch.

Hiring gardeners is a more costly method, though it will always ensure your crops' survival. Gardeners accept full sacks or baskets of produce, buckets of compost and other items as payment. The produce they accept will depend on what crop you are growing. A cheaper alternative is to just water your plants: it reduces the chance that your plants will become diseased. Watering allotments, hop and flower patches will help prevent disease when growing these, but ensure that the flowers are fully grown before you want them to protect any crops.

Treating disease

Plant Cure potion inventory icon

Plants that are grown in patches, that have been treated with compost and that are regularly watered, generally mature without experiencing any disease. However, if your crops do get diseased they can easily be treated with plant cure, which should be available in the Farming shops identified by the following symbol and from the gardeners at the patches. To those who have discovered the Lunar spells, you will be able to cure diseased plants using the level 66 magic spell Cure Plant.

Larger plants, such as bushes and trees, can only be cured by pruning away the diseased branches with a pair of secateurs. After pruning the trees or bushes you will get branches from that respective tree or bush. For example, if you prune a willow tree then you will receive a willow branch.

Diseased crops must be tended to, or else they will die, which means you will have to dig them up with a spade and start again.

Harvesting your crops

Spade inventory icon

Once the correct amount of time has passed, hopefully your crops have survived and you will need to harvest them. To do this, head to the patch with a spade and, if you wish, storage items (such as sacks or baskets) so that you may keep your produce.

If the crops have survived, there will be an option to click called 'harvest' - clicking this will dig them up, and they will appear in your inventory. If your crops have died, then you will have to use your spade to 'dig up' the dead items and then replant them if you have the necessary items or seeds with you.

For bushes, fruit trees and flowers, the option will be 'pick'. When all items on bushes are picked, you may then dig up the bush. For fruit trees, you must pick all items, then cut down the tree before being able to dig up the stump. After digging up a non-fruit tree, you will get the roots from that tree.


Farming

Basics
Farming - The BasicsFarming - Extra FeaturesFarming FAQ
Features
Farming ToolsSeedsGardenersFarming Patches
Activities
Livid Farm

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