30, 2003 - by Lisa Bruton, SimCity Social Services
is a lot more than growing vegetables! You can make a living from breeding
animals as well. Join us in taking a closer look at the possibilities in
this Food Expo * actual home business.
Lets digg in the ground and hope for a rainy day.
you want to become a farmer? Many sims do share your interest, especially
those living in Old Town connected neighbourhoods. Farming is a business
that more than any job is based on a lifestyle. Serious farmers know they
need to get up before the sun rises because they have a very tight time
farmers can be recognized by their outfit, homes and garden. A shed with
shovels, hay and boxes, pots and plants, the growing vegetable beds, and
there might even be some chicken and pigs gazing at you from behind a fence.
And of course a dog and a cat running about. Because of the work load the
farmer's household might be large, or there are gardening assistants living
and working on the farm.
you might not want the full package. Farming can also be growing just a
little food for your own household, or holding a few animals that by breeding
occasionally will add to your budget. You might want your children to learn
responsibility by looking after a few animals. You can be a part time farmer,
or a serious farmer. A devoted farmer, or just a curious on the modern
back to nature ideology - farmer.
Farming doesn't take much
skills, that's one reason why farming has become a rather popular lifestyle.
They say that you can't learn to grow a bigger carrot, but you can learn
to grow more of them. Looking after animals doesn't require any skills
either, but you should not be afraid of busy days. And, you will not grow
better or more vegetables if you are skilled on i.e. cooking or technology,
although technology will make it easier for you to repair stuff at the
Perhaps your best skill would
be organizing your day. Farming is time consuming, but with a good routine
the work load can be less or at least more effective. When both growing
vegetables and breeding one or more animals, these activities ought to
be spread around your lot, and the farmer and helpers will need to walk
a lot. This is hard work, and active sims are more likely to succeed. It
helps if you don't feel lonely too easily, and if you are not too fun loving.
But if you have helpers or just a little farm you will of course still
find time for fun.
It might be a good idea to
build a shed or a patio close to the work area with just a recliner and
a coffee machine. Other than that you will of course need any farm related
items you can think of. Scare crows, shovels, buckets, pots, hay and sacks.
carrots, beans or lettuce?
Johanna Grumblin, the Food Expo 2003 organizer, tells that many a farmer
do a mistake by thinking that it is less time consuming to grow tomatoes
or beans, compared to lettuce and carrots. The truth is that lettuce and
carrots pay off a lot more, therefore they are actually less time consuming
per Simoleon. but the 2 former are easier to grow.
ran a small project to find out more. A test sim, Dirk Farmer, was asked
to run a farm for 10 days growing 4 plots of only one of the 4 vegetables.
This was repeated 3 times growing different vegetables. The house and surroundings
as well as the basic time schedule was the same, and there was no cat or
dog on the farm.
day he got up at 6 AM, spent 1 hour in the bathroom, then spent some hours
weeding/watering/harvesting starting at 7 AM. After a few hours of work
he ate breakfast, then he worked some more and spent most of the evenings
watching tv, dining and studying mechanics. He went to Old Town to sell
his corps at 1 PM daily.
A farmer's day starts when
the scarecrows kick at 7 AM, being in the garden at this time is magic
as the plants grow. If you weed and water whatever there is to take care
of, there shouldn't be much more garden activity that day. Normally it's
enough to weed and water once per day, although some plants might need
Mr Farmer worked only 2-3
hours per day with his 4 plots, and could easily have grown 12 plots. Our
test sim had nothing to do in the evenings when he grew tomatoes, beans
or lettuce, although it seemed like beans require some more watering than
tomatoes. But then he had only 4 plots. After he had 12 plots growing tomatoes
and beans only, he made §160 per day but had to work 7-8 hours and
he had a cat to help him, too. Carrots were a lot more troublesome even
with just 4 plots.
Note that you will not lose
a lot of income if you harvest without weeding or watering first. If you
skip weeding and watering tomatoes before harvesting them it means you
will get a produce of 5 tomatoes per plot instead of 6. The 1 tomato you
miss would have been worth only §4 while the weeding and watering
would have taken 20 minutes. If you save 20 minutes on each of 4 plots
per day, you have 80 minutes extra which should be enough time to grow
an extra plot which will bring in extra §20. So many farmers actually
skip weeding and watering if there is an option to harvest, especially
if there are lots of pests around.
It takes 45 minutes to plant
1 plot (no watering).
It takes 20 minutes to weed+water
It takes 40 minutes to weed+water+harvest+water
It takes 20 minutes to harvest+water
It takes 5 minutes to water
Tomatoes §15 (5 plots), Beans §18 (10 plots), Lettuce §20
(5 plots), Carrots §25 (10 plots)
Make a plan
growing lettuce and carrots you must replant seeds on each plot every 4th
day. Therefore it is wise to alternate the plots, your 4 days schedule
could go like below. These examples do not apply to tomatoes and beans,
and you might find a better way no matter what you grow.
Alternative 1: This schedule
will take a little more than 2 hours of work per day. You might want to
double or triple the work by adding more plots.
Alternative 2: This schedule
will take a little more than 4 hours of work on Day1, and only 80 minutes
each of the remaining days. Day1 will carry the biggest work load.
If you go to Old Town to
sell your vegetables only every 4th day, you will save yourself from some
energy loss, because visiting Old Town can be very demanding.
If you run a very busy schedule
and pests ruin one of your plants you should leave the ruined plot until
that plot was to be replanted anyway according to your schedule, or the
schedule would be disturbed. Say plot A is ruined on day3, wait until day1
to replant it.
Use each worker's personal
notebook to give duties and reports. It might be more fun to run a farm
if you can controle the progress.
can not discuss farming without mentioning pests and pets. The pests are
rabbits and gophers invading your garden and ruining your crops. Pets are
basically cats that help you to keep those pests away. Dogs can be helpful
too with watering, but they will hardly hunt the pests. In our experiment
the rabbits occurred on the lot after 2 days, and from then the number
of rabbits increased rapidly. If you have a trained cat the rabbits will
not be a big problem. Even without a cat the rabbits don't seem to be a
problem if you grow tomatoes, beans or lettuce. It was first when our test
sim started to grow carrots that the rabbits ruined the harvest badly.
It was so bad that he gave up, and we concluded that it is not wise to
grow carrots without having at least one cat.
thing observed, was that none of the 4 vegetables attracted gophers! That
must have been a coincidence, because we know that gophers are common all
over Sim Nation, but perhaps they want a minimum of plots until they occur?
Our test sim had only 4 plots, but after increasing to 12 plots and growing
a mix of vegetables the gophers came, but then he had already got a cat
to take care of the problem. Many farmers surround their plants with empty
soil plots. This can reduce the problem but not completely exclude it,
because gophers can reach quite far from where their holes are.
about the cat - it was pretty smart to wait to buy the cat until after
the lot was packed with about 30 rabbits. The cat had fun chasing all those
rabbits, and became a hunting monster in no time.
is something a farmer must live with. They can bring frustration and tears
when they damage your vegetables, so remember to grow a little more than
you need - even if you have a cat.
addition to vegetables, you can breed i.e. pigs or even have a chicken
farm. There are a lot of other animals available from web sites, too, from
dinosaurs to snakes, but we will concentrate on pigs and chicken. Most
of the available animals will not require any specific neighbourhood expansion.
animals need feeding and some cleaning. It can be a challenge to make animals
breed and live on for long enough to raise their worth, but as soon as
you get a grip on it things get a lot easier. Your goal is naturally to
sell the offspring. Most farmers will wait to sell the animals until they
reach a value of about §100 which should take 10-20 days.
you fail then try enlarging the animals' area, but remember that a too
large room for them might be just as bad as a too tiny room. They need
to reach the food which they will not if they are more than 2-3 tiles away
from it. That is also why you should not let the animals or chicken walk
free on your lot, at least they must be put back to their locked area at
night - or they will starve to death. Also make sure to remove dead animals
which will block alive animals from moving about. If you get too many animals
you should rather build them a new area than to increase the area that
already works smoothly. If you have a large farm, animals can be sorted
based on their age/value. Search a balance, each farmer must find a way.
keep in mind that animals will never walk across their food, so the food
can serve as part of the fence providing you with an easier access to their
area. See the photo from the Mervils' chicken farm (top of this article),
and notice how food can be reached from 2 different rooms and still being
accessible to the farmer without disturbing the animals.
pigs might infect you with the dreadful GPD (Guinea Pig Disease), which
can be avoided by washing your hands after petting or cleaning up after
the pigs. If you get the disease, make sure the infected sim gets a lot
of rest. If you are living large there might be a GP painting that the
infected sim can stare at to get cured, but you will still not be able
to work for a couple of days.
chicken are free of GP disease. They make a great asset to any farm, because
they lay eggs, which turns into small chickens, which later on grows into
chucks - a true life cycle. The eggs can even be cooked as a group meal!
The older the chuck is the more you get when you sell it. But the longer
you wait the bigger risk that the bird will die and its value is lost forever.
the hard work is done and your inventory is stuffed with delicious vegetables
from your own garden, it's time to go to Old Town to sell them to Gardener
Bob. You can of course store the crops in a pantry at home, but that will
not give you any income for paying bills etc. Animals can be sold without
leaving your farm.
pay off differently. Tomatoes and beans are §4 per piece, while lettuce
§6 and carrots are §7. 4 plots will give about 22 tomatoes or
beans per day (5-6 per plot), which will be §88. 4 plots will give
you about 40 lettuces per 3 days, which will bring in §240 (§80
a day). Or 4 plots will give you about 40 carrots per 3 days which will
bring in §280 (§93 a day). It is possible to grow gigantic vegetables
which you can sell for a lot more, but you will need to ask Gardener Bob
for his tonic to experiment with it.
sims find farming rather risky, because it is a safe income while everything
works smoothly, but as soon as the pests invade your garden and you don't
find time to replace ruined plants, you might suddenly lose income and
nearly have to start all over. The loss is greater work wise when you grow
tomatoes or beans, because with lettuce and carrots you will need to start
over again even if there were no pests.
farms never make big money, and if you live alone, want a social life,
and eventually some hobbies besides farming, you should not expect to succeed
with more than 4 plots. If living in a small house 4 plots would be enough
to pay your food and bills though, but hardly any shopping or vacations.
your household is big and many members can help with farming, there is
a better chance for making big money. If you can grow 12 plots or more
then your daily income might be more than §250 from growing vegetables
with all home businesses, they give you the chance to answer phone calls
during the day, which might bring in extra money. Make sure to install
a phone not too far away from your farming area.
Simmerville the only farm of a certain size is the Mervil farm at 66 Mervil
Highway. This farm is very old, although they have recently changed the
way of running it. The Mervils used to deliver tons of quality bacon for
the SimCity market, and they grew as much as 50 plots of carrots. Today
they have a chicken farm counting just 10 chicken and they grow 12 plots
of beans and lettuce. The farm is run by Brion Mervil with help from his
assistant Ansgar Teft, and also Mrs Mervil's housekeeper helps with the
farming. Mr Mervil explains that they all have specific duties, and that
control and a strict time schedule is of importance. He do not want to
tell us how much they can make in a day.
Mervil Highway used to be a part of the old Mervil farm, but today it counts
as a seperate address owned by Mr Mervil's niece, Angela Gobelin, who rents
the house to the Tammers. The Tammers grow 12 plots of land, mainly tomatoes
and beans, from which they make about §140 per day.
the 3 Hedgewood sisters at 60 Happy Trail do grow 12 plots of land, but
as Esther Hedgewood puts it, it's something she does to grow their own
food and to be independent.
Photo top: Ansgar Teft over
at Mervil farm is feeding the chicken.
Photo mid page: Test sim
Dirk Farmer is posing with 4 pigs.
Photo bottom: Ansgar Mervil
is selling the Mervil farm produce to Gardener Bob.