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Soil replenishing crops (cover crops)


Eric McAlpine
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I like the current system of farmland nutrient level and how it strongly encourages crop rotation, but it could be better. Currently, every crop reduces a nutrient level, but none of them improve any. For example, soybeans have been known to improve nitrogen levels in soil. To be balanced in VS, I'd say it could improve the soil a few percent, likely no more than 5%.

Cover crops, such as clover, are sown strictly to be tilled back into the soil. Clover can survive most winters and vastly improves the nitrogen levels of the soil, but I'd say it should be no more than 15-20% improvement in VS. Clover is also a favorite food for rabbits, so you might still be able to attract/trap them throughout the winter.

I do not think ALL crops should improve something, but certainly at least a few, and maybe not by much. That's what cover crops would be for. Unfortunately, a lot of cover crops are used to prevent weeds and pests, so they would not directly translate into the game.

"main" crops that may replenish other nutrients: radishes, rye, peas, soybeans

potential cover crops: alfalfa, buckwheat, mustard, vetch, clover, oilseed

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I like and support this suggestion.

I don't think that it needs to be implemented as completely as suggested above, to begin with. Pick one cover crop eg clover to start with.

Also, grass already exists in the game, so start with that:

  • Give it a "regeneration" property just slightly better than fallow ground regeneration rate
  • Put in "grass seeds" as an item.

(I know, I know - "too Minecrafty.")

I'm also not sure if "grass" actually benefits the soil . . .

But big picture, I like the idea.

If it was a "new crop" then you'd need to have a flag for "spawns rabbits" or not. Because currently, grass does spontaneously appear on farmland, and rabbits can spawn on that. And then eat your crops.

Do you want to plant a few cover crops in your field, and find you've accidentally made a rabbit farm - that eats the main crops?

Or the opposite problem - how do you stop the cover crop from spawning rabbits and giving players an easy rabbit farm?

 

I wouldn't mind seeing "seeds" for more plants in the game. I wouldn't mind planting woad, flowers, or any of the other "ornamentals." Because currently collecting those for use denudes an area. I know that Vintage Story seems to want to stop you from making "auto-farms" and generating huge amounts of materials, but there should be a balance possible. For example, a few long "natural regen" time for flowers. Or a very small chance to drop flower seeds. Or a requirement that you can only plant said seeds in a biome similar to where they were harvested from.

Anyway, yes, cover crops - good.

 

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Thank you.

I just wanted something to do with my fields over the winter or while they are left fallow. It just feels so wasteful letting them sit.

I agree my full suggestion may be a bit overkill, but I like to give options. I may try to make a mod for some of these though, starting with fiddling with existing crops using one nutrient and replenishing another, then add clover, then we'll see where it goes. Flowers would be a good addition, particularly horsetail because it has uses and can be tedious to collect by waiting for it to grow on your fallow fields.

I like the spawn rabbits flag, but I might just keep clover as a crop they'll go after and eat but not spawn in.

After a quick google, it looks like some grasses do benefit the soil, or at least help retain nutrients. The effect looks minimal, but hey, get some dried grass as additional feed or pit kiln fuel and boost the soil a smidge, win-win.

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