Farming in Rust can be a time saver at the minimum or a great way to stock vending machines with pure teas & cloth.
To start off your farm, you're going to need a base. The most efficient farm base designs have planters in groups of 3 or 6 due to ceiling light and sprinkler mechanics.
This design has planters in groups of 3. It's important that the sprinklers do not have line of sight to more planters than this or they will not receive enough water to keep the planter topped off.
This design has planters in groups of 6. It's better for larger farms as you do not need to worry about the sprinkler LoS since they are further away from the surrounding planters. The only con with this design over the first one is that it does not fill the planters as fast (4mL vs 5mL)
The simplest way to water your farm is by building your farm on a river or fresh water lake. All you have to do is power a water pump and plug the output straight into up to 4 sprinklers. If your only source of water is salt water, plug 2 water pumps into a powered water purifier and output that into up to 4 sprinklers. You do not need a powered fluid switch & pump if you plug the water pump/powered water purifier straight into a sprinkler.
A method of getting water to your farm base if it's not close to a water source. To make this efficient at your farm base, you would want to connect the car to a fluid splitter and output that into water barrels. You can plug up to 6 sprinklers into a single water barrel.
- H - Hardiness, increases temperature resistance
- G - Growth, increases growth rate
- Y - Yield, increases crop & clone yield
- W - Water, increases water consumption
- X - Empty
Your plant genetics have a great affect on your crop production. There are arguably 2 different plant genetics to aim for, GGGYYY and GGYYYY. Each clone has its own advantages and disadvantages, GGGYYY has increased production rate but only yields 3 clones when cloned. GGYYYY has a slightly lower production rate however yields 4 clones, which is less labor needed in the farm base.
Crossbreeding is an advanced topic, which is probably better shown than read about. You can also use rustbreeder, just input the genes you have and it will show you which ones to use to get the best genetics available.