With the release of update 2.2 in Final Fantasy XIV; a Realm Reborn, there came a number of additions to the already expansive MMO title. In this article we intend to take a Quick look at one that not so many may yet be able to take part in; Gardening.
While there has been no ETA given as to when this will be changing, currently only Free Companies (the guilds in FFXIV) have the ability to purchase and build houses in the designated residential areas. Whether this is intended to drive players to join Free Companies and apply efforts together towards objectives or simply a lack of server resources, is nothing Square Enix has made clear to players, however they have promised that this will change given time. For the time being however, if you are not a part of a Free Company with a house from which to start a garden, then you simply haven't the option of one until you are. So while this article may seem to have a limited audience scope, rest assured the insight provided may still be worth knowing if for nothing more than an idea of the value behind some of the items involved with gardening.
First of all in order to have a garden, as stated above, one must have a house and land thereof to place one. The garden itself can be purchased from the Housing Merchants found in the residential zones, and come in 3 variant sizes; round, oblong, and deluxe. While any one garden will fit in a small house's yard, the medium house can contain two, while the large can have up to three. The description on each indicates as much but can be easily misunderstood so be warned so you don't end up buying multiple smalls only to find you can't use them all on that small house at your disposal.
The garden alone will not provide you everything needed however, only the tool/place from which you can begin putting the items to use. There are ultimately three key items involved with gardening; seeds, soil, and fertilizer. While you may be able to get by without fertilizer for your gardening, without seeds and soil you simply have a piece of yard decoration.
Seeds can be found randomly while performing Botany in specific locations where they may spawn. Once a seed shows available in the Botany menu from one of these locations you are allowed one 'find' of this item. That is, you may hit the item countless times as a selection but only one seed will be obtained, and once obtained that option is no longer visible in the menu for selection. Rationally most can find these seeds based upon desire, you want olive seeds then go to a location where olives are found and start gathering until you find some. Some seeds however may require higher levels of Botany to be found, while others are extremely rare crossbred seeds. While there has been rumor of crossbred seeds being found while botanizing; they can also be found from successful crossbreeding taking place in your garden as well.
Which brings us to soil, soil can be found in three types and three grades of each. To put it simply there is a grade one, two, or three soil for each major city area; Shroud, La Noscean, and Thanalan soil. Not only do each have the three grades available to be found, but each has a designated function within the garden as well. Before detailing these designations it might be worth knowing where/how to find these soils. Like the seeds can be found using botany, the soils are found using mining; also like the seeds only one can be found when the 'hidden' item appears available from the mining menu. Unlike the seeds however, the locations where soil can be found can prove a bit more of a challenge to find sometimes. Just like the seeds are randomly available, so too are soils. As for their grade; you will only ever find the same grade in the same area for mining, so when finding a grade one soil location its worth remembering but not when chasing grade two or three, as they will be found in their own location/area. From what this examiner has observed soil locations can be identified within the gathering log, but finding them however takes a great deal more patience as they do not seem nearly as common as seeds; regardless of the grade.
Each grade increment is obviously going to be better than the prior at facilitated the desired result each can provide, but unfortunately only time and application will reveal what each actually has to offer; if you hadn't found this article or otherwise to provide that information. Shroud soil is said to yield more crops of seeds planted with it, La Noscean has the chance of yielding higher quality crops, and the Thanalan soil increases the chances for interbred seeds and seeds in general to be found during harvest.
Once you have your garden, soils, and seeds, there remains a final key ingredient which assists in speeding up the production time from your garden; Fertilizer. Fertilizer can be obtained one of two ways; purchased from the Material Vendor found in the residential areas or via the Culinary skill utilizing three Lominsan anchovies to produce 15 bags of fishmeal. Rest assured you can definitely find fertilizer for sale on the Market Board, but rarely for as low a price as the Material Vendor if you can't make it yourself of the anchovies. While this Examiner has not tested the output from a garden which has not been fertilized, the understanding is that fertilizer simply speeds up the time it will take for your plants to produce and is not actually required. However its as simple as a single right click upon the plot once a seed is planted to check the status or need of the plant. Imaginably if you elect not to invest in fertilizer you will still need to occasionally utilize the 'tend crops' option. This will result in an animation of you either watering the crops, or if there is rainfall about you will begin weeding them.
Finally once your garden is ready for harvest not only will it display in the status from a single right click but the plants themselves will have a sparkling animation dancing from them signalling their completion. While not all grades of soil have been tested as of yet by this Examiner, rest assured there can be yields as high as 20+ materials possible from one harvest when using the appropriate soil for higher yield. If the Higher Quality is your concern, rest assured if one came out high quality, the entire yield pulled from the plant will be. As for seeds these are found and displayed as found, after the yield and only one seed will be found per plant if any.
While not everyone may find gardening to be as entertaining as the many other additions 2.2 brought players, many already have begun enjoying the profits of selling the materials involved; especially the soil. So even if you've not a house, but the ability to find gardening materials, rest assured there is some value to be had of those materials to those that can and hopefully now that you have an idea of the work involved and the bonuses each has to offer their value is made clearer.