Until I began to play Island of Happiness, I considered myself a fairly good Farmer in the world of Harvest Moon. Island of Happiness reminded me of the danger of hubris, humbling me. It has taken me five years of farming on the Island to be able to state that I finally begin to comprehend farming.
Although I won my first two Crop Festivals in my first game, I actually lost a couple of seasonal Crop Festivals in later years in the same game. Whether you win or lose any given Crop Festival depends solely on the Rank and Quality of your entry. You must have an 'A' Rank Crop or higher to win.
The first challenge is to have access to the seeds needed to produce the Crop that is announced as the theme of the next Season's festival. In your first two years, the Theme in each season will be a crop that is available from the start of the game.
By the third year, however, you will be required to produce a Crop from seeds that must be unlocked. If you have not been able to unlock the Seeds for the Crop announced as the theme for the next Seasonal Crop Festival, you can obtain the Seeds in a slightly underhanded way. If you raised Wada's Friendship level to 7 Hearts by the start of the third year, he will allow you to gain access to his back garden where the 'Tower' stands. Here you will find Manfred and he will give you an item each day when you speak to him. The item is chosen randomly but by reloading your game, you can obtain the required Crop and feed it into your Seed Maker to produce the seeds you need.
The second challenge, once you have the seeds, is to grow the Crop successfully. In Island of Happiness, every Crop requires different care. Make certain that you pay attention to the description of the Seeds before you plant any crop. If you fail to remember the description, go to my Farming Guide for detailed information.
Every Crop has specific requirements in terms of Sunlight, Water and Time. Given more Sunlight, Crops tend to grow faster but some will die if they are exposed to too much Sunlight. No longer can you diligently water all your Crops daily and expect a successful harvest by virtue of doing so. There are Crops that require 'more' water than that and others that require 'less'. If a Crop requires 'more' water, you really need to water it twice daily in order to be able to obtain a good quality of harvest. If a Crop needs 'less' water, you need to abstain from watering it every other day.
As far as Sunlight and Water are concerned, you can control both variables by growing your Crops in the Greenhouse under an artificial Sun. If the Crop requires 'more' Sunlight, however, it may grow more slowly in the Greenhouse than it otherwise would grow in your Field, especially in the Summer season when fierce Sunlight is a common weather condition. Sunlight in the Greenhouse is provided at the rate of a single point per day. Fierce Sunlight, on the other hand, is worth 3 Points. Crops that require 'less' Sunlight may wither under a fierce sun but Tomatoes, requiring 'more' Sunlight, would thrive in your Field under such conditions.
Farming, therefore is a complex equation. A player posted a comment to the effect that tomatoes planted in the Greenhouse in preparation for the Summer Crop Contest
failed to mature in time for the Contest and only produced a Crop after the beginning of the Autumn season. The reason for this is the lesser number of Sunlight points given to any Crop grown in the Greenhouse. To be able to count on a harvest of Tomatoes for the Summer Crop Festival, therefore, the Summer Sun would need to be placed in the Greenhouse during the Spring Season and the Tomato Seeds planted then before Summer ever began.
Although I planned ahead in this fashion in my own game, growing Pineapples in my Greenhouse for the Summer Crop Festival, I foolishly forgot NOT to harvest them prematurely. When the day of the Summer Crop Festival arrived, there were no ripe Pineapples on my Greenhouse plants. The 'A' Rank Pineapples I had harvested a couple of days previously had deteriorated quickly to 'B' Rank in my ordinary Refrigerator and I was unable to win the Contest!
When Strawberries were the Theme of the Spring Crop Festival, I made the mistake of growing them only in my Field. An extremely wet Spring caused the death of every plant I had. I replanted immediately but alas, too late. The plants produced fruit before the end of Spring but one day AFTER the Spring Crop Festival. Once again, the Strawberries stored in my ordinary Refrigerator had lost their 'A' Rank...
These are arguments in favour of obtaining a Mythic Refrigerator, of course. With a Mythic Refrigerator, your Crops never lose their Rank, Quality or Freshness. The actual monetary cost of the Mythic Refrigerator is the same as that of the Quality Improver. Each costs 5,000,000G. The primary difference between the two is the shipping value of the materials used to create each. Mythic Stones ship for a minimum of 10,000G each. Adamantite, on the other hand, is not particularly valuable. Ship the first large quantity of Mythic Stone you obtain and you will have enough money for the Quality Improver. Once you have the Quality Improver, you items stored within will not lose their Rank or Quality and even will increase in quality gradually.
Remember that Orange Wonderfuls set in your Hammer increase your yield each time you smash a rock in the Mine. A total of 9 Orange Wonderfuls can be set in a Hammer, allowing you to obtain 10 Mythic Stones each time you smash a rock that contains one.
You should be able to obtain at least 5 Mythic Stones if no Orange Wonderfuls are set in your Hammer each time you visit Floor 100 of the Mine. With 9 Orange Wonderfuls in your Hammer, you can obtain at least 50 Mythic Stones on Floor 100 alone. If you descend to Floor 255, you should be able to collect 50 more between Floor 250 and Floor 255.
Until you have 9 Orange Wonderfuls in your Hammer, your yield will be less, but even a few Mythic Stones from the mine will increase your income significantly early in the game.