It’s been a long time since I’ve written any Stardew Valley guides for our site. One thing that was on my list was a discussion on upgrading your hoe, and why you should bother with it. I figured now was a good time to talk about it (for no particular reason).
For some pieces of equipment, like your pickaxe, it’s easy to see why you should upgrade them. It’s not as obvious, however, with your hoe, since essentially all it’s good for is tilling the earth.
So, why should you upgrade your hoe in Stardew Valley? Keep on reading, and I’ll explain why for you.
Your hoe is basically a shovel that you use to prep the land for crops. Before you can plant a single seed in the ground, you need to soften the earth for planting with your hoe.
It’s pretty simple to do. Begin by figuring out where you want to plant a crop, and then use your hoe on each square until you’ve made a planting area. The earth in each tile should darken after a successful use of the hoe, indicating that you’ve tilled it.
I try to pick orderly areas that I surround with fences. Frankly, the fences don’t really do much for your crops other than look good. However, I like having them because it marks where my garden is and tells me where to use the hoe again in between crops.
Why Should You Upgrade Your Hoe?
Now, given that the hoe has such limited use, why should you upgrade it? Is it even worth the effort of upgrading it?
There’s really only one benefit to upgrading your hoe: the size of the tilled area each time you upgrade it. In other words, the amount of earth that gets tilled by the hoe increases with each upgrade.
In its base, un-upgraded state, the hoe only tills one square of earth. To make a large area for crops, this means you need to spend a lot of (not to mention stamina) preparing a spot with your hoe.
There are four levels of upgrades, though, and the hoe’s area of effect goes up with each one. Here are each of the upgrade levels, as well as their improvements to the hoe:
- Copper – Tills a line of 3 tiles in front of you.
- Steel – Tills a line of 5 tiles in front of you.
- Gold – Tills a large area of 3X3 tiles.
- Iridium – Tills an even larger area of 6×3 tiles.
Is it worth it? That’s ultimately up to you and whether or not crops are going to be a huge focus on your farm. If you plan to make most of your money by fishing, mining, or keeping animals, you may not benefit much from upgrading your hoe.
However, if you’re going to be creating large gardens, then you may appreciate how much area it tills at once. You could save a significant amount of both time and stamina.
I personally would stop at the steel or gold level. Growing crops, while important, isn’t my largest focus, and I think steel or gold would fit my needs nicely.
Wondering which crops to grow? We’ve got a post about the best summer crops for year 1 which is particularly helpful for beginners.
How Do You Upgrade Your Hoe?
Let’s look at what to do if you’ve decided upgrading your hoe is a good idea.
First, you’ll need to be sure you have all the supplies and gold necessary to upgrade at all. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like walking all the way across town to upgrade, only to find that I can’t because I didn’t come prepared.
Fortunately, part of what you need for each upgrade is in the name of the final product. With the copper hoe, for example, you’ll need five bars of copper. The steel hoe requires five bars of iron, the gold five bars of gold, etc.
In addition, you’ll need gold for each upgrade. The amount of gold more than doubles with each upgrade, resulting in the following amounts:
- Copper – 2,000 gold
- Steel – 5,000 gold
- Gold – 10,000 gold
- Iridium – 25,000 gold
Got everything you need to upgrade? Good – now it’s time to actually go have the upgrade done.
You’ll need to go to the blacksmith, whose building is located just above the museum. I’ve included a picture of the building at the beginning of this section.
Talk to the blacksmith, say you want to upgrade your hoe, and pay him accordingly. It will then take a few days for the upgrade to complete. On the day that it’s finished, you’ll receive a message when you wake up that your hoe is ready.
Upgrading your equipment is one of the perks of advancing in Stardew Valley. With repeated upgrades, you’ll find that your farm gets more and more efficient…and you’ll find yourself raking in the cash with less effort.
But do I think upgrading the hoe is worth it? I’m not sure I would say it’s worth the cost at higher levels unless you focus heavily on crops. If you do, however, an upgraded hoe can certainly increase your efficiency.