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. Most of the time, chemists can produce chemicals from their Chemist#Chemical+DispenserChemDispenser so may completely ignore any plants you bring them. However, if both Science, Chemistry and Cargo go down and there are no ChemDispensers you are the station's only hope for medicine production. 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 Sec. Your Hydroponics Trays are also the easiest way to produce wood for Crafting needs.
Beware suspicious colleagues asking for wood as they can be used for nefarious means such as crafting weapons. Beware suspicious colleagues asking for Ambrosia vulgaris, Galaxy Thistle or Nettles as these can be dangerous. Be sure to give Clown's an extra long stare when they ask for bananas. Banana peels whilst not directly dangerous 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.
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.
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.
In addition to the tools above, Botanists will have a number of chemicals available to them, 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.
|EZ Nutrient||Adds nutrients to plants|
|Robust Harvest||Increases plant potency (and size). Add up to 20u 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|
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 try adding fertilizer. When the crops are 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.
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. you've put unwanted food in it).
- 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 some chemicals or you can cut your losses and extract a seed (plant clippers) and replant.
- Dead / Old / Wilted - 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 .