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"Stardew Valley": Why Do My Crops Die?

Shane's been gaming for nearly 40 years and loves a broad array of games in addition to being one-quarter of the Assorted Meeples group.

If you grew up with the Harvest Moon games, which inspired Stardew Valley, then the idea of crops dying between seasons isn't a surprise. For new players who didn't know there were seasons, or how long those seasons are, waking up to find all of your crops dead can be a proverbial kick in the teeth.

This is the most common mistake players with a lot of dead crops experience with Stardew Valley, but there are actually a few different situations that can cause crops to die.

This article goes over every scenario so you can know why your crops are dying in Stardew Valley, how to prevent it, and how to get the most out of your wonderfully unique farm in Pelican Town!

Meteorites Will Not Destroy Crops in Stardew Valley

On the plus side meteorites can not destroy your crops...at this time.

On the plus side meteorites can not destroy your crops...at this time.

1. Crops Die During Changing Seasons

Seasons change in Stardew Valley, with each season consisting of 4 weeks of 7 days for 28 total days. This keeps the schedule moving smoothly from year to year. It also means you need to keep an eye on when you plant your crops later in the season.

This is a common newbie mistake. If you have crops like cauliflower or melons, which take 12 days to grow (plus one more to harvest - DON'T forget this important detail!), you want to make sure the harvest day isn't the 29th...or the 1st of the next season, which means your crops die before you can harvest the profits.

There are crops that grow during two seasons, and these survive the season change, but they're the only ones.

Those crops are:

  • Ancient fruit (Spring, Summer, and Fall)
  • Coffee bean (Spring, Summer)
  • Corn (Summer, Fall)
  • Sunflower (Summer, Fall)
  • Wheat (Summer, Fall)

All other crops must be harvested on the 28th of the season or before, or those crops will die.

2. Crops Die From Lightning Strikes

In Stardew Valley, rain is a welcome break to farmers creating giant fields of crops before all the sprinkler systems are in place. Rainy days are a great time to hit the mines, head to the desert, or take care of odds and ends you don't usually have time for when things get busy on a daily basis.

But there's an important distinction that too many players overlook, and that's the fact there are two types of rainy days.

  1. There are just plain rainy days (no lightning)
  2. There are stormy days (lightning)

On normal rainy days, you shouldn't lose any crops. However, on stormy days, there is lightning. Where lightning strikes on a farm is random, and if lightning hits a crop, then that crop is instantly destroyed, leaving behind withered crops the next day.

The solution is building lightning rods around your farm.

And you shouldn't be shy about doing this. The more lightning rods around a farm, the fewer lightning strikes that will hit other spots including those with crops on them.

Not to mention the fact that lightning rods make very valuable batteries, making them useful to have in large amounts.

3. You Missed Too Many Days Watering a Crop

Crops in Stardew Valley die if you fail to water them twice. If you miss one day, that's not a big deal. However, missing a crop twice means that the crop will wither and die, remaining in that withered state for the rest of the season.

This can happen easily when there are seeds planted behind a scarecrow, behind a tree, or otherwise appear hidden behind something. Missing one spot is also pretty easy to do if you're rushing or you thought you had the perfect sprinkler layout but were just a little off.

Or if you're like me and keep trying to add extra rows around the sprinkler covered areas.

The problem is this doesn't need to be consecutive. So if you missed that melon on day three, and then again on day eleven, that's now a dead crop. This can make crop deaths in Stardew Valley seem random but they're not.

Ideally, you don't want to miss any days watering, but if you miss one, then make sure you don't make the same mistake again!

4. The Crows Ate Your Crops

This is easy to figure out because when crows strike, you don't have the remains of rotten crops left behind. When crows eat your crops in Stardew Valley you will usually see them flying away in the morning and there will be blank spaces where your planted crops used to be.

Scarecrows are the solution to this and although they cover big areas, as your farm expands it's important to make more since making crops in square plots makes sense but the coverage from scarecrows is circular.

This can lead to gaps in the coverage where a crow can swoop in. Once you get going in the mines, it's not hard to get what you need to put together a scarecrow, so be liberal sprinkling them around your crops and drive those crop thieves off your land!

Do You Need to Water Rice in Stardew Valley?

If you plant rice more than three squares away, it needs to be watered like any other crop or it will die.

Rice shoots are great because right by the water within three squares they automatically water, meaning you can ignore them. The problem is, the numbers tend to get a bit squiffy when you count any squares diagonally from a water supply.

When you plant a rice shoot the ground, the ground should appear fully watered. If it doesn't then that rice shoot is too far away from water and needs to be watered manually or it will die.

Below is a great picture that a Reddit user shared to show the range of rice shoots from water on your average farm pond.

Seeing the Range of Self-Watering Rice Stardew Valley

Thanks to the Redditor who shared this!

Thanks to the Redditor who shared this!

Spring Forage Seeds Only Look Like Dead Crops

Even as an experienced player I've wondered at times whether the spring forage seeds were growing or whether the crops were dead and withered. There are some bits of forage that when planted actually look a lot like withered crops.

Make sure you aren't using an axe to clear them, use a scythe. The reason is simple. If they are dead or rotten crops, a scythe will get rid of them. If the scythe doesn't do anything then what you're looking at are forage or wild seeds that are still growing.

It's one of those design quirks that raises eyebrows in an otherwise very well-designed game.

A Happy Healthy Stardew Valley Farm

Stardew Valley is a wonderful game, and one whose popularity is no surprise to the legion of fans that adore this game.

However, the seemingly random death of crops can be something that really drives them nuts. The good news, if you want to call it that, is that crops don't randomly die in Stardew Valley. There is a reason, and once you know those reasons a few basic actions can help you dodge these issues completely!

Great Stardew Valley Resources

© 2022 Shane Dayton