- Access: Hydroponics, Maintenance, Service
- Difficulty: Easy
- Duties: Stop the chef from seeking "alternative sources". Grow lots of wheat. Make weed smoothies and spike drinks with nettles.
- Supervisors: Head of Personnel
- Subordinates: None
- Guides: Hydroponics
Botanists are responsible for growing food, medicines and resources aboard the station. Without you, the Chef may resort to "questionable" methods of food acquisition. Be sure to make use of your seed extractor and plant clippers to maintain a steady supply of seeds.
Your role is primarily to assist the Chef; when starting, ask the Chef what ingredients they would like you to grow. You may assist chemistry and the medical bay, though they will generally not be aware you exist; your Lingzhi plants are much easier at producing epinephrine than a ChemDispenser, but not as easy as if the Chemists get a hold of an EMAG from Security. If Science, Chemistry and Cargo go down, and there are no more ChemDispensers, you are the station's only hope for medicine production. Your Hydroponics Trays are also the easiest way to produce wood for Crafting needs.
Beware suspicious colleagues asking for wood as it can be used for nefarious purposes (such as crafting weapons. Beware suspicious colleagues asking for Ambrosia vulgaris, Galaxy Thistle or Nettles, as these can be used as poisons. Be sure to give a clown an extra long stare when they ask for bananas (whilst not directly dangerous, they can be quite joyous to a mischievous clown or traitor). Protect your Water Tank from thieves.
In the middle of a Botanists shift, if you happen to be standing in a pool of unused ingredients for your Chef and feel a bit bored, there are other things you can do. You can make a pest of yourself by shoving a pool of medical plants at Chemists and tapping your shoe pointing angrily at them until they take them. You can batch produce bananas, eat them and scatter them across the station with glee. You can attempt to mutate your plants into highly nutritious versions or killer monsters (for defensive purposes, of course, but beware a possible demotion or ban). Or maybe you can pester the Chef to allow you to experiment in their kitchen. If you have access to a grinder and a drinking glass / beaker, you can make your own medicines and/or poisons. Consider selling unused plants to Cargo. If crew are suddenly craving bananas and beating their chests, it's time to supply the Bartender with banana juice so that they can make a cure.
An expert botanist is a force to be reckoned with and oft underestimated / ignored. With the right tools and knowledge, you can easily trip unsuspecting antags / targets (banana peels or spill a bucket), punish them (with your shovel or poison) and potentially unleash critters on them (plant mutations). Meanwhile, you can stock up on healing meds, food and drink for self-preservation. All the while, under the radar of Security who typically will have bigger fish to fry.
Remember to use the Radio to work closely with the crew.
You will have a number of tools at your disposal to help keep your crops healthy and growing. Don't forget to top up the hydroponics trays with water and/or nutrients every now and then, and make sure to pull any weeds as they pop up. Chemicals are available either from vendors or made via chemistry. Careless use of chemicals can have unintended side effects and should be used appropriately (or not). Radioactive chemicals may have an unexpected mutagenic effect on your plants if used.
|Mini Hoe||Removes weeds|
|Plant Clippers||Takes samples (seeds) from plants. Overuse will decrease the health of the plant. Underuse can lead to a lack of seeds. Some plants are multi-harvest plants and so can be clipped at the final harvest. Other plants are single-harvest plants so should be clipped each time they are harvested. If you have power and a Seed Extractor, you can potentially use it instead however you will lose the effects of any genetics or nutrients like Robust Harvest.|
|Scythe||Sharp, helps harvest|
|Hatchet||For cutting wood and tower caps. Needed to remove dead / old trees.|
|Spade||Removes plants from tray. Needed to remove dead / old plants (that aren't trees). Can be used as a rudimentary weapon.|
|Bucket||Used to transfer water. If dropped, spills contents on the floor. Holds 250u of liquid.|
|Bottle||Used to transfer water 5u at a time. Holds 30u. If dropped, shatters.|
|Drinking Glass||A Botanist's primary mixing container. Holds 50u of liquid and ingredients. If dropped, shatters.|
|Plant Bag||For transporting plant materials. When holding the bag, hold left click to pick up multiple plants at a time. When holding the bag, left click on a plant / seed to put it in the bag. Left click on a table (not a counter or floor) in order to empty the bag onto it. Right click on the bag to get the option to dump the contents where you are standing.|
|Seed Vending Machine||Has 5 of every seed.|
|Seed Extractor||Insert a plant into this machine to extract generic seeds. Note that on some plants, you can alternatively use Plant Clippers on the plant before its final harvest instead. A plant clipper will retain any genetics / nutrient effects of the plant whilst the Seed Extractor will reset it to the default generic seed.|
|Water Tank||Contains a large quantity of liquid Water. Use a bucket or container on the tank and then on the tray that needs watering. Without water, plants will not grow.|
|Sterile Swab||Used to transfer pollen from one plant to another for cross-pollination.|
|Grinder||Located in the kitchen and/or Chemistry lab. Put a drinking glass or a beaker in and grind up the plants. Eject the beaker.|
|Microwave||Use for tobacco, cannabis, and aloe. 10 seconds each.|
|Syringe||While holding the syringe, press Z to activate 'Draw' rather than 'Inject' to draw from the glass of ground plants. To fill a syringe to full, you will need to put 4-5 plants into the grinder. Once full, pass it to the Chemistry lab and tell them what it is so they can label it and hand it to the medical team.|
|EZ Nutrient||Adds nutrients to plants|
|Robust Harvest||Increases plant potency (and size) up to 50 (i.e. half of max potency). Add up to 15u to a Hydroponics Tray. Be sure to use a Plant Clipper to harvest seeds (that will also be potent).|
|Pest Spray - contains pest killer||Kills pests|
|Weed Spray - contains weed killer||Kills weeds|
|Left-4-Zed||Mutagenic, causes plant life to become highly unstable|
|Fertilizer||such as ammonia and diethylamine adds Nutrients over time.|
Refer to Hydroponics
These interstellar-grade hydroponics systems are where a botanist typically spends most of their time. Examining a tray by ⇧ Shift + Left Click will reveal details about its current status, including its water and nutrient levels, the presence of weeds and the status of any plants currently in the tray.
Seeds can be planted in a cleared hydroponics tray by clicking with a packet of seeds equipped. Once planted, the seeds will quickly sprout and begin to grow. Whilst growing you can water it, use Robust Harvest to increase potency or fertilizer to increase the tray's Nutrients. When the plant is ready to harvest the hydroponics tray will show a green indicator . Most plants can be harvested by hand; some, however, will require the use of tools. Some plants, such as apple trees, can survive multiple harvests. Others, such as wheat, will need be replanted each time.
You can Examine a Hydroponics Tray to see its Water and Nutrients. Adding water will increase the Water count over time. Adding Fertilizer will increase the Nutrient count over time. Over time, the water and nutrient count will fall if there is a plant in the tray.
The lifecycle of a Hydroponics tray is the following:
- Empty (no water, seed or nutrients).
- Hydrated - you've added water to it (e.g. from a bottle or bucket).
- Ready for planting - you've added water and nutrients to it (i.e. fertilizer).
- Planted - you've added a seed to it
- Ready for Harvest - you've waited for the plant to grow
- Sampled - you've taken a sample (seed)
- Harvested - you've picked ready plants. Some plants will then grow again. Others will die and need replanting.
- Unhealthy - You've sampled too many seeds or sprayed it with deadly chemicals. The plant isn't coping too well. It'll continue to grow. Health can be restored by fertilizers or you can cut your losses and extract a seed (plant clippers) and replant.
- Old / Wilted - the plant has matured and will soon die. It will still be harvestable and you can extract seeds but only for a short duration. Extract the seed and then pluck it out / chop it down.
- Dead - the plant has been harvested and ceased growing. It should be plucked out / chopped down. No seeds can be extracted.
- Weeds Present - Over time, hydroponics trays can become filled with weeds. These can be removed either by using a mini hoe, or through chemical means. Be warned, however, that overuse of weed killers can lead to unhealthy plants, possibly killing them. Trays filled with weeds will have a flashing red indicator .
Working with the chemistry department
As indicated, a few of your plants are of use to the station chemists and medical department, and a few chemical products are of use to you.
- Lingzhi will easily be the most useful to the chemlab: it is a precursor to epinepherine. Making this from scratch is a particularly complex process with multiple steps that actually requires them to leave their lab (!!) and hunt down ingredients like welding fuel.
- Nettles can provide them with histamine (for ultravasculine, a potent antitoxin, and diphenhydramine, an anti-histamine).
- Galaxy thistle supplies stellibinin (an antitoxin); combined with aloe it makes siderlac (an anti-caustic). These are niche medicines.
If you want make friends with the chemists, the most useful of these by far is lingzhi. You might also bring a container, if you have it. Speaking chemistry language and supplying formulas can also help, but don't try to boss them around at their job and remember that they might be very busy.
These formulas are easy for chemistry to make in a large beaker:
- 100u Ammonia fertilizer (NHHH at 25u per click)
- 90u EZ nutrient (KPN, 30u each)
- 90u Left-4-zed (KPN, 3xRa at 15u per click). This is a slightly suspicious request, but within your department's remit.
These formulas are a little harder:
- 80u Diethylamine fertilizer (NHHH at 10u each, plus 40u ethanol).
- 180u Robust Harvest: H S O O at 25u a click (100u sulfuric acid), then K P N at 30u a click (90u of EZ Nutrient). Move both to the ChemMaster, transfer them back to beakers in equal proportions, discard excess 10u of sulfuric acid.
A chemist will never, ever, ever have the toxin in stock to make more Plant-B-gone.