As we know, fertilizer reduces the grow time of plants. However, after some in-depth testing the actual effects of Fertilizer have been coming to light and it appears a bit more complicated that previous thought. It has generally been accepted that fertilizer reduces a plant's grow time by about 1 hour. It has also been noted that it is possible to reduce a plant's grow time by half if fertilzed every hour for the duration of the plant's life. This has been proven to be not true and there appears to be a limit to how much fertilizer a plant can receive before it no longer has an effect.
This began when a player (Link Farore, Ragnarok) contacted me with a Google Spreadsheet he created to track grow times of plants being fed fishmeal. I really liked the spreadsheet but told him some findings I had done with another player mainly on the elemental seeds showing that fertilizer didn't seem to have an effect on them. After tweaking the spreadsheet a bit he decided to start some in-depth testing of the effects of fertilizer on different plants. I will be sharing his findings below in his messages to me over the span of a few months. I've listed below a summary of some of the findings so far.
The goal of this project is to have the community do some more independent testings to confirm many of these results and to possibly see if we can figure out the inner workings on the effects of fertilizer. While this is not necessarily a game-changer for gardening I think it's important to try to understand this a bit further as the game devs have not been willing to give any info on the exact workings of gardening. I will be adding to the detailed analysis below as I get more findings.
August 20, 2017
I did some testing on Voidrake and Althyk Lavender where I planted 8 of each and first one of each with 0 fishmeal and increase one. I ended up with 8 of each with different number of fishmeals, but they all finished the same time. Voidrake was around 12h30m and Althyk around 22h15m. I'll retry them again to see the timing if it is correct and I test some of the chocobo and other items for further tests. I have some of the seeds that take over 4 days planted few days ago and I'm keeping adding fishmeals to them to see if it is really 1h reduce.
I'm planning to not have time reduce everytime you add fishmeal for the short duration seeds and I'll make a note for that there because even after using like 7 fishmeals it finished the same as the one that wasn't fertilized.
August 23, 2017
I'm still doing more tests for some seeds but it looks like cloud acorn is a 24 hour item and I had another with 4 fishmeals and finished 10 minutes before which I think it is inconsiderable. However I noticed with the one that doesn't have fishmeals didn't grow up in the 24 hour time, and I even waited few minutes after with no luck. I had to give it fishmeal to finish it which made me think if some plants might get some delays or freeze before time and one fishmeal could be the one to unfreeze it. Did you get something like this? Do you know where people posted some of the tests they did for gardening, I want to read them if that's possible.
August 27, 2017
I just found out that fishmeal has a limit for the plants over 4 days. I used over 16 fishmeals on different plants that all should finish in 5 days. One of them had 19 fishmeal while the other two had 17. They should have finished hours ago but they just finished and the time shows that only 10 fishmeals did the effect on the plants. Anything more had no effect on the plant. Not sure if you heard that before but wanted to let you know.
September 3, 2017
I would like to let you know about my new findings. Today 7 out of the 8 black pepper (5 days of growth) finished. I had first seed the one still not done with 0 fishmeals. The rest I had each with different number of fishmeals. The number goes from 9 to 15. I wasn't there when it was done but I had my laptop record the game while I was sleeping. All plants that had 12+ fishmeals finished at the same time. This shows that 12 could be the max amount for them. The thing that surprised me is that the next hour 11 should be done but both 11 and 10 finished at the same time, and 9 finished the hour after. This made me think that plants could have checker every hour. If one plant still have 15 minute left and one has 1 hour left when the checker happens, both will not be ready because there is time to finish. However, if we pass the 15 minute mark, the first plant will have to wait for the next check to finish. In a few hours the last black pepper will be ready and I'll know how many hours does it need to finish without fishmeals. From that I would know how many minutes did each fishmeal reduce because I feel it is 45 minute for 5 days seeds. Tomorrow 8 Jute with same idea will be ready and after 8 blood pepper will be ready.
First, the last plant finished and the time for the black pepper is 121 hours. What I found is that the difference between the 0 fishmeal plant and the 12 fishmeals plant is 10h30m which means each fishmeal adds 52m30s to the plant, but this doesn't make sense because it would not make plant 11 and 10 finish at the same time. I thought about it and I remembered something about somethings' efficiency decreases with time. Like what if the first 9 fishmeals which is 75% of the fishmeals used reduce one hour where anything from 10-12 the 25% left would reduce only by 30 minute. I still need to check that again. For the 1-3 days seeds, it looks like it is not consistent for some reasons. I would do more testing on the black pepper. I'll have two patches and the fishmeals will be from 0-15 and from there I'll make sure of my findings.
September 7, 2017
What I have discovered right now requires further tests xD. It turned out that Jute is a 7 days seed like Blood Pepper, which means I didn't have a 6 days seeds. Both finished after 168 hours for the ones that didn't have any fishmeal. the ones that had fishmeal had an odd timing. The 12 isn't the cap for them that is clear, but it looks like 15 or close to it is the cap. The reason of this is that I noticed plants that had 14 and 13 finished at the same time meaning we were close to the cap like what happened with black pepper. The odd timing that I talked about is the difference between 0 fishmeal and 9 fishmeals timing should be close to 9 hours at least if the 1 hour is the one for the cap. However, the 9 fishmeals plant finished 12 hours and 40 minute before the 0 fishmeal one meaning each fishmeal should reduce time by 1 hour and 20 minute.
About the Thavnairian Onion, I'm still waiting for the plant with 0 fishmeals to finish, but the odd timing happened here too. I mean the plants finished hours before the usual timing. I even had more than 5 hours for the first one, but I even found three finished. It is either fishmeal reduction is more effective here like 1:30 hours more than other plants or the plant itself finish earlier than 10 days. I'll be doing more testings which will delay the timer.
September 10, 2017
Thav Onion without fishmeal kept the 10 days but there was a 30 minute extra for some reason. I'm trying to figure out the formula and I might need more testing. I plan to do 24 black pepper, 24 any 6 days plant, and 24 blood pepper and have each with 1 fishmeal more than the other from 0 to 23 to make sure of the limit of fishmeals. I'll do the same with Thav Onion, and getting as many seeds as possible while testing the other three plants.
October 11, 2017
I was able to record a video of black pepper from 0 to 22ish fishmeal (messed up in the end). The timing for them is so troublesome. The plant that had 1 fishmeal finished 1h53 before the 0 fishmeal. The 2 fishmeal finished around 1h6m, and the ones after decrease a little but sometimes two finish at the same time and the one after them finish alone. I'm planning to upload it to youtube after I speed it up a little because youtube doesn't allow my account to upload a 16 hours footage. I'm a little lost of how they do their plants but there must be a way. I'll try something later after I feel better and finish all the mid terms next week, but we might let people know that feritlizing might not be correct. Also if people have the timer on their hand, they might help time the feritlizer and help us with it.