Hallo and welcome to Mechanics Chat, where I talk about the game not from the perspective of our amnesiac hero, but from my perspective, and hopefully with the perspective of other guides, aides, and forum members, to supplement the fact that I don't quite know the game inside and out. I've played it, but we all know that's not the same thing.
For starters, you'll notice that I cut what seems to be a lot of the tutorial dialogue. Most of it's boring, so that's why. But if I cut it, why'd I do the tutorial?
Well, one reason. The tutorial takes place in timeless space, and gave me the chance to gather up extra wild grasses and weeds from our field. As the people above me note, we want this junk. Money, light healing, crafting ingredients, presents... It's good junk.
The second thing you'll notice is that I had Ramza agree with Shara that, yes, the monsters are strong. This is the game's way of initially setting the difficulty: I went with the 'easy' option. The main difference is the toughness and strength of the enemies -- it's a basic numeric difficulty adjustment.
#1, I don't like things that are difficult. I'm pretty much a soft creampuff of a human being. I'm a weenie, and I'm not ashamed.
#2, I'm already playing with the handicap of screenshotting while fighting.
The third thing... You won't notice at all: any reference to it was in the tutorial stuff I cut.
But let's talk about farming. The farming works, in broad strokes, like so: you plant your seasonal veggies or flowers, you water them, they grow, you harvest. When you harvest things, you can get rune spirits or runeys -- little collections of the Rune Factory series' magical energy that is in all things, including you. I'll talk about them later, remind me. When you don't water crops, or plant them out of season, they will eventually wither and turn into withered grass. You want this to happen sometimes...
Because the soil has its own properties, which I'll generally call "Health." I'll show it off more fully when we get a tool to help actually see it. Health determines things like your growth rate and the level of your produce (or, at least, it can't hurt; seed quality has more to do with it, though), and if you plant your crops in the same place multiple times, the health of the soil will go down. Well, you may ask, how do you fix that? There are two basic strategies, and we'll probably be using both of them for the LP:
#1, You till withered grass into the soil, basically using it as a mulch. I'll show my favorite way of getting withered grass later; this is running long.
#2, Let the soil rest for a while, changing out where you plant. This has the advantage of giving more junk new places to crop up.