Even when it’s not required, growing your own food and herbs in ICARUS can provide a tactical advantage for some of the more challenging missions. And, when used efficiently, Crop Plots can also be an excellent supplement for any camp setup — even your exploration settlements and outpost projects!
At first, farming can feel quite confusing, especially if you accidentally waste some resources on the first try. This is surprisingly easy to do: mature crop can spoil by the time you return if you do not know the grow times (or don’t have the Fresh is Best talent), and same could happen if you decide to leave extra plants in the “seed” slot.
However, this is precisely what this guide is for! Here you will find basics, details, and tips on growing plants in ICARUS: everything from what you can farm and how to farm it efficiently.
How Do I Craft a Crop Plot?
You do not need any talents to unlock a Crop Plot: as soon as you advance to Tech Tier 2 (by unlocking the Crafting Bench), the Crop Plot will be available for you to unlock and craft with Wood (8) and Sulfur (10). However, there are some Talentsassociated with Farming, which we will discuss in the section below.
Once you’ve crafted a Crop Plot, deploy it anywhere you like (you can even plant in shade, but plants grow significantly faster in the sun). Then, press [F] to open the Crop Plot’s inventory, and then drag whatever plant you want to grow into the “Seed” section (bottom half) of the Crop Plot’s inventory.
The “Crop Growth Progress” bar on the bottom will fill up as the plant matures. (We will list the crop growing times for you later in this guide.) If the icon in the bottom portion is red and says that the Crop Plot is in shade when you hover over it, try moving the plot further into the sun to get a better growing time.
You can gather plants you want to grow in the wild, or bring them in farming packets from the Orbit.
Without Cook/Farm talent specialization or a farming mission requirement, Crop Plots are most useful when you spend extended amount of time at a single base, doing something other than gather food.
Think about this: at its fastest, it takes 33 minutes to produce up to 5 Wheat or 9 Berries. If you are on the move, you can acquire tenfold of this amount within just a few minutes, and probably less if you are trying to collect specific species. Even in the Desert, reaching an oasis means acquiring far more plant food than your Squash crop plot could have produced by the time you get there.
However, if you are spending time at your base and focusing on stockpiling resources and construction, or if you put together a mining outpost and are spending a lot of time deep within the cave system — you can definitely get a lot out of a set of crop plots, especially if you put together one of the few available cooking benches.
One notable exception: since you can grow herbs in Crop Plots, it can be useful to set up a Yeast, Reed Flowers, Lilies, and Wheat Farm Patch in the Arctic or the Desert (keep in mind that you can find large patches of wild Reeds in the Desert Biome). However, out of these only Wheat can be brought in a Farming Packet.
These plants do not spoil, so if you plan on putting together some Anti-Poison remedies before fighting the Sandworm, or some Antibiotic concoctions against pneumonia, this can be a viable alternative to bringing the materials from the Forest or the Vaccines from the Orbit. Arctic and Desert travel involves long distances, so being able to prepare and carry some Beer to boost stamina for running can also be convenient (it does not spoil).
Another potential exception to this is having a character with talent points dedicated to the Cook/Farm tree, which we will be discussing next.
There are two Talents under Survival > Cook/Farm tree that you can unlock to improve your farming experience:
Green Thumb (+10%/+20% Planted Crop Growth Speed)
Fresh is Best (Grown food doesn’t decay).
These talents take 3 talent points in total, but here is the catch: to unlock Fresh is Best, you need 12 total points invested in the Cook/Farm tree, which means that after unlocking it you would have spent 13 talent points in total.
Do you need these talents to grow plants effectively?Not really.
Talent points are a very rare commodity in ICARUS: unless you have a build that already uses other talents from this tree, there is not much reason to invest them here. As we have discussed in the previous section, if you did not plan on returning to your base within an hour anyway, there probably wasn’t a lot of purpose for you to put all the work into crafting Crop Plots regardless.
List of All Crops (with Crop Plot Growing Times)
[Note: This section is under construction]
Below is a table of growing times and yields we acquired by planting a few of each plant: the outcomes were likely influenced by chance, so treat them like approximations.
We tested these growing times without any of the Cook/Farm talents.
*Farmed Berries also have a chance to yield 13-15 Fiber. **”GH” stands for “greenhouse“: the grow times are currently only boosted by 33%.
Plants left in the “seed” slot do not get replanted automatically, while also continuing to spoil (unless you have the Fresh is Best talent).
To optimize your planting, hold Alt and drag the plant into the seed slot with your LMB. This will only pull one plant out of the stack, making the process much quicker.
As with the weather events, sleeping does not expedite any of your growing timers.
Try giving your Crop Plots a “greenhouse state” instead — see the next section.
Check whether the Crop Plot recognizes that it is in the sun (or greenhouse) before planting; there is no way to “pick up” the seed once you start growing — you will only have an option to clear the plot and start over.
Remember that you can use plants from farming packets to grow non-native plants. But, keep in mind that you can also grow herbs, like Lily, which do not come in orbital packets.
At the Outpost, extracting has a chance of resetting and locking your Crop Plots. Clear one of the plots out and check again — it might debug the rest.
If the progress bar is full, but the Crop Plot is not yielding anything, try waiting for another minute — that delay is pretty normal. If nothing happens for a while, try the trick of gathering or clearing a plot nearby.
If you want to speed up your Farming without putting any points into the related Talents, the next best thing is to set up a Greenhouse — that will be the topic of our next section.
Aside from being in the shade or in the sun, your Crop Plots can also be inside a greenhouse — a building made out of glass building pieces, like a Glass Wall. We will refer to this condition as the “greenhouse state” in this section. While inside a greenhouse, your crop production is boosted by 50%* (as we will explain later, the current bonus is actually 33%).
As of February 2022, there are two issues in the game surrounding Greenhouses: while one of them comes with a disadvantage, the other one can serve as a very powerful exploit.
Greenhouse State (Glass Building) Growing Boost
Unfortunately, the greenhouse state on Crop Plots currently only speeds up the crop production by 33%, in contrast to the listed 50% within the Crop Plot UI.
This means that, inside a glass building, Wheat will take 21-22 minutes to mature instead of the original 33 minutes, Carrots will take 29 minutes, and Watermelon will require 43 minutes.
How Do I Get the Greenhouse State for my Crop Plots?
However, right now you can easily get the greenhouse state without constructing a full glass building: a single piece, like a Glass Wall will apply to a relatively large Crop Plot patch near it.
(In our experiment, a single Glass Wall attached to the outside of our house applied the greenhouse status to two of our 3×3 patches set next to each other. If placed at the center, it’s likely that it can boost at least a 9×9 patch, but that could get fixed in the future updates.)
Of course, you can always build a proper greenhouse for your plants: in that case, keep in mind that there is no Glass Floor piece, so you will have to substitute it with something durable — setting your glass pieces on a Wood Floor base might mean that a particularly nasty storm could destroy a big chunk of your farm.
We hope you found this ICARUS Farming Guide useful! If you have any questions, comments, or have some info we’re lacking, please let us know in the comment section below.
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