In this game you are a farmer and therefore it should come as no surprise to you that a lot of your time will be spent tending to crops and that most of your money will come from your efforts. The basics of farming in this game should be pretty familiar to Harvest Moon veterans: you have fields that you TILL with your HOE and then you can SOW SEEDS in those fields. You buy seeds from the GENERAL STORE and each bag of seeds sows four squares in a 2x2 square, so it'll take 2 bags to fill every 2x4 field you have. And then after you sow the seeds you have to water them everyday until they are grown. When your crops are ready to be HARVESTED the name of the crop will be displayed when you look at the square. Some crops can only be harvested once, some keep on growing all season (you'll want to plant those at the start of the season).
Your daily crop watering is going to be the primary drain on your daily STAMINA. Every action you perform with a tool drains a little bit of stamina, but watering is the action that you're going to be doing 30 times a day. You CAN water your crops twice a day, once in the morning and again twelve hours later... BUT this will require staying up all day and you'll have to cook some food to replenish your stamina to do so. If you water your crops twice a day they will grow a little faster. On rainy days you don't have to water, but the rain only counts as one watering.
Watering your crops is your biggest use of time and stamina in this game, and it is very repetitive. Therefore you're going to want to make upgrading your watering can one of your highest priorities whenever you unlock a new tier of METALS. So when you get some COPPER put it towards upgrading your watering can, and do the same when you get SILVER and GOLD and DIAMOND. The copper can can be CHARGED UP by holding down the A button and then it will water two squares. Silver does 4 squares in a line and gold does an 8 square field and makes watering hundreds of crops a day a total breeze. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention it, but you won't be able to upgrade your items at all until after you buy the blueprints from Rebecca.
To grow your crops the fastest (and optimize profits) you'll need better FIELDS. The fields you start with are the worst kind. If you want better fields you're going to have the buy the blueprints and make them. Better fields also give your crops some tolerance for growing after their season. Oh, did I mention that many kinds of crops can only be grown in a single season? Yeah, that's pretty basic stuff you should know. The general store sells the seeds for the season you're in and until you get the best fields try to make sure that the crops you plant will be done before the season is through.
Crops also have a QUALITY rating in STARS. The quality of your crops effects how much they sell for, directly and indirectly (through crop festivals). The quality of your crops is determined by the quality of your seeds. The seeds old Hana sells you will usually be of the lowest quality, but you can also buy FERTILIZER to put on your seeds to raise their quality. Starting around year 2 you'll have access to a SEED MAKER that can turn your fertilized crops into seeds of a higher quality... and then you can plant those seeds and fertilize them everyday to make even higher quality seeds, eventually building for yourself a stock of high-quality seeds that grow high quality crops that sell for lots of money and win festivals which enables you to sell your crops for even more lots of money. Money, it's what you want.
In the beginning of the game, though... your crops are going to be of low quality and you can't make seeds and fertilizer will be mostly out of your price range. What are you to do? I'll tell you... in your first spring you should take just one potato and fertilize it everyday and that will get it to 1.5 star quality, enough to win the beginner level crop festival at the end of the month and raise the SHIPPING PRICE of all your crops. But then again, if you buy or otherwise get RECIPES and use them to turn your crops into DISHES you can also raise the amount of money you get. For instance, a .5 star turnip may only sell for 100G, but a turnip stew costs no time or stamina to make and it sells for 120G... so you would be well advised to ship dishes rather than straight crops when it's profitable.
Oh, and it's not just crops you'll be growing, in a strict sense. You can also grow GRASS as FODDER, and textiles, and fruit trees, and flowers. Fruit trees are the most unique I think because they don't need to be watered and they are permanent. You'll get used to this stuff in time. You'll also be growing stuff in PADDIES which have to be kept full of water, which is a real hassle to do with your watering can. After TRP3 you'll be getting a new area of farmland that can water all of your crops in that area at once, so fill that area with paddies and fields.
And sometimes... after you've harvested lots of crops already your crops may turn out BIG or even GIANT. Naturally these big'uns sell for much more money. Big crops only show up in good fields though so when you're nice and established you're going to want to make yourself lots of good soil fields.
This explanation of mine was a little meandering, I admit. I'll conclude it by talking about the different crops you can grow in each season and those that grow in all seasons, and when all of those different crops will become available to you. You know... someday.
Special note about the following lists of available crops: when I say that a crop isn't available until a certain year, I just mean that it isn't available for sale at the general store until then. You may be able to win seeds for those crops from festivals much earlier.
 Spring Crops
- Cabbage (year 2)
- Cucumber (year 2) (regrows)
- Strawberry (from The Far East)
- Tulip (year 2)
- Pink Rose (must ship red rose first)
- Rice (planted in a paddy in spring, harvested in fall) (year 2)
 Summer Crops
- Tomato (regrows)
- Corn (regrows) (regrows)
- Pumpkin (year 2)
- Pineapple (from Southern Island) (regrows)
- Watermelon (year 3)
- Red rose
 Fall Crops
- Eggplant (year 2) (regrows)
- Yam (year 2) (regrows)
- Green pepper (year 3) (regrows)
- White rose (year 2)
- Gerbera (year 2)
 Winter Crops
- Broccoli (regrows)
- Bok choy (year 2)
- Gentian (available after shipping snowdrop, or just wait until year 2)
- Blue rose (year 3)
 Year-Round Crops
- Flax (1st winter)
- Raw cotton (1st fall)
- Bergamot (3rd year) (regrows)
- Wheat (1st summer)
- Cactus (from southern island)
- Soybean (1st winter)
- Lotus (1st summer)
- Wasabi (from land of the east)
There are a lot of other herbs you can grow year round. All you have to do is find them in the wild and then turn them into seeds using a SEED-MAKER, which is something you'll build at some point. Also you can turn wild fruit into seeds the same way. Fruit trees grow forever but only give you crops during certain seasons. You can basically fertilize them forever and totally maximize their quality. Fruit trees do take a season or two to grow so try to plant them well in advance of when they will be producing fruit as adults. But hey, you don't have to water fruit trees at least.