3. Soil preparation
The aim of Farming is to sow seeds, help them grow into healthy plants, then harvest the crops. Although the trad can seem complicated, everything a farmer does is part of this simple process.
Most seeds can be planted directly into a suitable patch of soil with the aid of a seed dibber. The soil may first need raking if it has become overgrown with weeds. When the seeds have been sown, they will grow slowly until they are fully grown. At that point the crop may be harvested with a spade.
All the tools commonly used by farmers are sold in Farming shops throughout the land.
The greatest threat to crops is disease. Where crops become diseased, they usually die unless the disease is promptly treated in an appropriate way.
For small crops, a vial of plant cure should restore the health of the entire patch. Larger plants such as bushes and trees may be treated by cutting off the diseased leaves with secateurs.
Prevention, of course, is far better than cure. Farmers are strongly advised to take all necessary steps to ward off disease from their crops. There are a variety of techniques for this:
If the soil is treated with compost before seeds are sown in it, the chance of the crops becoming diseased will be considerably lower. Supercompost has an even greater effect on the likelihood of disease.
Certain flowers attract the pests that cause disease in vegetables and fruits. You may therefore be able to protect your crops in allotments by growing appropriate flowers in the nearby flower patches.
Marigolds protect potatoes, onions and tomatoes. Rosemary protects cabbages. Nasturtiums protect watermelons.
A scarecrow may be placed in an empty flower patch. This will repel birds, thus protecting any sweetcorn growing in nearby allotments from diesease.
The simplest method of preventing disease is to hire a gardner to look after your crops for you. Throughout the lands, you will usually have little trouble finding someone willing to help in exchange for a few sacks or baskets of food.
It is critically important that your crops be planted in the best available soil if they are to grow successfully. In general, amateur farmers are advised to do their farming within the farming patches available to the public across the lands.
Where one is required to grow crops in some other place, the ground must be treated very thoroughly before any seeds are planted. The appropriate treatment shall depend on the nature of the existing soil and the climate.
Mix 2 buckets of dung and 8 buckets of supercompost into the soil.
Mix 6 buckets of dung and 4 buckets of supercompost into the soil. Finally, stir in pleanty of water with a trowel.
Mix 3 buckets of dung and 7 buckets of supercompost into the soil.
Mix 10 buckets of supercompost into the soil. Pour a vial of plant cure over the soil and provide some means of drainage. It is widely believed that camel dung surpasses all other creatures' dung in both fertility and stench. Keen farmers preparing soil for important crops should therefore aim to use camel dung wherever possible. It may be freely obtained in the desert lands south of Misthalin.