A bit of a gardening/beekeeping review…
Seasonal gardening has added a lot of changes. These changes, in my opinion, affect rotational players more than regular players. In regular gameplay, you’ve got your one household and your garden and they can plant and harvest whenever and not really worry all that much about whether they will have enough produce. But, if you rotate and, like me, have only a few households that garden, things get much more tricky. Also of note, I have a mod that requires ingredients in order for them to be able to cook so it really is important to have produce all year!
And so, as is my modus operandi, I made a spreadsheet. A huge spreadsheet with all of the plants including the custom ones I have of Icemunmun’s. On it I made a sort of grid of when things are in season and also what they are used for. Cooking, herbalism, canning, and candlemaking. Because yes I’m finally going to start having them do some candlemaking as well. The candles are mostly whimsical and didn’t really fit into the “everyone’s broke” theme. Anyway, I then looked at the list of recipes and such for each of these harvestables to see how many I might need in a Turning… I suppose it would equate to a calendar year for everyone else. Basically, all 4 seasons. What I discovered left me in shock.
I need a scary amount of produce. It makes sense considering every time I had Naomi can with what I felt like was a lot of ingredients she ended up with practically nothing. I’ve been totally underestimating the amount I need! Up until now, my sims have had one single plant of each type. Yes, you may laugh. I do a daily rotation to line up with my timeline/calendar system for Ash Shore and so in most cases, I will only be playing these gardener sims for 2 days of each season! While time goes extremely slow and there is an illusion that a lot of time has gone by since I played them last it’s not really true.
It was time to research into these changes more. Thanks to Carl’s Gardening Guide and the handy new video which you’ll see on the page, I learned some helpful information which I find very interesting in rotational play. The most exciting of the changes is that I no longer have to force my gardeners to sit around the house all day so that their produce will grow. Which I rarely did. Another reason I didn’t have much. With the new system, the plants magically bear fruit, weeds, and need water promptly at 5am each morning! And so, when rotating it would be imperative to arrive prior to this hour. This also gives them the entire day to do their gardening chores with no worry that more will “crop” up later in the day. (haha) An example of this in this pic was from when I had one of my households grow the spring crop because it’s almost time for summer…
It’s amazing and wonderful. But, it does have a downfall. The initial planting takes a very long time! It was practically a whole day wasted and with the small window of time I have with each household, it was disappointing. Thus, tests were done. I love my tests!
I teamed up with my new favorite tester Cheddah Cheese by Euphorial Queen for these tests. First, how long does it take to plant and water the initial crop? I was shocked at the result! They can only plant and water 5 plants each in one sim hour! With these calculations, if I were to have a single sim plant my summer harvest, it would take them 36 sim hours!
Test two… how long will it take before they tap out if they start gardening with completely full needs?
I was shocked! I had to get more carrots. 14 sim hours! Now, a sim having completely full needs very rarely happens but it was a good test of endurance. It was the bladder need that finally did them in with hunger close behind.
I was curious about planter boxes. For one thing, I can have my woodworkers craft them. For another, it makes rotating in-season crops to the front more practical. Moving all of these little carrots into rows was very time-consuming. They do take up more space which is one downfall. But, they come with an unforeseen benefit…
It was so hard to screenshot and describe what I was talking about so I took a small video of what I called lights and Lori on Twitter referred to as undulating soil which sounds much cooler. After much speculation on Twitter we finally got our answer…
Wow! Very interesting and eye-opening. This means that I’ve wasted that lot trait when planting in the ground. The swirling lights effect and this knowledge tipped the scales and made my mind up to use the planters. Although, it will likely take quite awhile to build them all!
It was requested that I do some tests on honey quality so bees were added. I’ve also tested bees. Carl has a good guide on his site Beekeeping Guide which includes another short yet informative video. I highly recommend the read… or watch as it were. One thing not included that I’ve been intrigued about is the collect swarm/pollinate feature. I don’t have a pic because I did this in a separate test. When collecting the swarm it can stay happily in the sim’s pocket (LOL) for 5 sim hours. During that time the bees will make a sort of aura around the sim which looks really neat. But, what this means to rotational play is that you can have a beekeeper sim that ventures to everyone’s gardens to pollinate! I tested this out and had Cheddah pop from lot to lot that I’d added gardens to and he was able to pollinate them all. He also went to the little garden in Oasis Springs and pollinated there as well! Another task for my little simmies. Hoorah!
Here we have all of the little planter boxes in their nice tidy rows after 5am where, as you can see, there are now carrots. I was surprised that none of them needed to be watered or weeded. I stayed 2 more days I think but to no avail, I wasn’t able to time weeding. This does have an AoE now so I think it won’t take long. My tidy rows were a failure. They kept walking from one side to the other each time to harvest. Which made no sense considering this also seems to now have an AoE. The benefit of which is that it only takes 15 sim minutes for a single sim to harvest 20 plants!
Back to the bee test. It was requested that I test poor honey. Since honey quality is determined by the bee’s current mood I had Cheddah disturb the box a lot. Sorry buddy, it’s in the name of science! And, it’s funny to watch. Surprisingly, poor honey gives the exact same energized moodlet as excellent. Which is disappointing considering that lower quality plants aren’t very appealing to sims.
We put honeycake to the same test. Would poor honey result in a poor cake? I cheated his cooking skill up to level 3 to make sure that low skill wasn’t affecting the test. Again, it had no effect. Still, there are other benefits of keeping the swarm happy although these results are still disappointing.
I did several other tests that mostly only apply to Ash Shore itself so I’ll share those findings separately. I did want to note that it took the green peas longer to pop up into plants and become harvestable so it may be a good idea to plant them the day before spring perhaps? Here’s an overview of my findings…
- Sims can garden ~14 hours with completely full needs.
- 5 plants can be planted and watered in 1 sim hour.
- Harvesting 20 plants takes 15 sim minutes.
- Having 2 sims planting and watering simultaneously close to each other confuses them. Likewise with planting near each other. I would suggest separating the areas where they plant if there is more than one sim.
- 3x high speed seemed to mess them up. This may be due to the current simulation lag issues though.
- Having the plants in neat rows seemed to make them plant and water faster.
Hope you found my tests interesting! It’s been two whole months since I posted anything here since I’m only playing Ash Shore which has its’ own site.
Note from the future: After playing a bit I discovered that my theory here is flawed. At least if you’re rotating often like I was doing. The plants have to regrow at the start of each season and take hours in which you have to be on the lot. Which makes the sims slaves to the plants. They can’t go anywhere until everything’s grown!