A Starter’s Guide to Stardew Valley

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Stardew Valley takes on the Harvest Moon formula and tosses in a depth not seen in many of the series’ original games. With that depth, though, comes a wealth of new ways to play, which can be a tad overwhelming if you’re new to the farming scene. We’ve gathered a bunch of tips for beginning farmers to follow throughout the first year of the game to make sure your adventures in Stardew Valley get off to a profitable start.

Get the first backpack upgrade as soon as possible

You’ll be moving around a lot of stuff in this game–rocks, seeds, books, logs, sea urchins. All of the odds and ends you collect are stashed in your backpack, which starts off with a meager 12 slots. Pierre offers a sizable upgrade to 24 slots for 2000g. Make this your first goal. Once you upgrade your satchel you’ll have a lot more freedom, and you’ll be able to spend more time exploring instead of running back and forth to your house to unload items.


Take advantage of Stardew Valley’s bountiful nature. You’ll find fruits, seashells, and all sorts of useful or valuable things lying on the ground just waiting to be taken. Be sure to shake the trees to gather sap and fruit. It’s also worth repairing the bridge to the tidal pools at the southern part of the map. Checking the tide pools every day will net you sea urchins and coral which you can sell to Willy for easy earnings.

Dig up the worms

On your daily wanderings, you’ll stumble across little worms dancing in the dirt. They’re easy to miss, so watch out! If you use your hoe to dig them up, you might unearth books and other rare items. Books, artifacts, and rare minerals can all be donated to the museum’s collection. While donating your findings doesn’t offer immediate satisfaction, it will pay off in the long run.

Off to the mines

In the northeastern corner of the map, you’ll find the mines. You’ll gain access to them after the fourth day of Spring, making them an early source of some sweet, sweet money. Bring your pickaxe and some food that can replenish health and energy. Other than that, leave all of your other items at home in your chest. You’ll find all kinds of ore, and the deeper you go, the more valuable the findings. Your progress through the mines is saved every five levels, making it easy to pick up where you stopped on your next visit. Just make sure you don’t die—blacking out means you also forget your progress, and you’ll be forced to start from an earlier point.

Buy the silo first

One of your first quests tasks you with building a chicken coop. Resist the temptation, though. It’s better to save up for the silo, which stores any tall grass you reap. This grass is invaluable when it comes time to feed your hungry beasties. It’s hard to keep your feathered friends happy if you can’t feed them, so it’s best to plan ahead.

Take advantage of bundles

A few days into spring, Lewis will introduce you to the Community Center. In one of the center’s rooms you’ll find a golden sign–examine it! This will set you on the path to unravelling the center’s mysteries. With some help from the Wizard, you can now prepare bundles for special rewards. These little challenges typically ask you to gather a certain number of seasonal goodies. It’s a great way to learn the lay of the land while earning some rare items or events.

Learn how to fish

Fishing can be a tricky skill to master, but it’s worth the practice. It can be hard to figure out just exactly what the game expects you to do when casting your line, but the video above should give some good pointers to folks who are struggling. Villagers will post requests for fish on the notice board outside of Pierre’s shop, offering up gold and other nice goods as reward. Once you get to a certain level in fishing, you can also start using crab pots, which will catch fish for you. It’s a good source of gold, and fish can also be used to craft premium fertilizer and energy boosting foods.

Use fertilizer

Crafting is big in Stardew Valley–there’s no way around it. Fertilizer is one of the first recipes you unlock in the game, and it’s an important one to boot. All you’ll need is two sap to make your own standard grade fertilizer. Make sure you add this to your soil before planting your crops–doing so increases the chances of your crops reaching silver quality or better. Once you use it, your soil will stay fertilized all season long.

Get a good night’s sleep

Country life requires a lot of hard work, so pay careful attention to your energy meter. This little bar will deplete over time as you water crops, clear out trees and rocks, and fish. It may be tempting to stay out late finishing up chores if you have extra energy remaining, but make sure you get to bed before midnight. Much like real life, staying up past your bedtime means you’ll wake up with less oomph set aside for the day ahead.

Following these tips early on will establish a strong foundation for your farm in the first year of the game. With flourishing crops and a steady stream of gold, you’ll be ready to really start expanding your farm and befriending your neighbors.

Image Credits: Chucklefish LTD. 

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