Tracey and Cobweb2 days, 5 hours ago
You can get free extra sprinkles at the moment when you harvest daffodils (make sure you've already collected your daily sprinkles first though, as you can add daffodil sprinkles to daily ones, but not the other way around).
Some plants still give a little gold when you harvest (poinsettias during the winter, Trick or Treat seeds, Forest and Enchanted Jewels).
The changes were made to simplify gold collecting, and stop people from cheating. People had been setting up fake accounts for smail gold, and were filling their garden with gold-producing plants to farm gold, rather than playing the game. Others were using automated scripts to play snail games and Alchemy, which Mike wanted to put a stop to as he interpreted that as meaning that people found those things dull and too time-consuming to play properly.
The free daily sprinkles were meant to be a fairer way for people to collect sprinkles, and stop them from cheating or trying to bypass the more time-consuming things. Plus it means that you don't have to wait to collect three or four gold every three hours, or risk missing out because you can't log on every three hours.
Things were also changed at the same time to make it easier to play without using gold. Plus free food was introduced at the same time so that players who can't buy gold were still able to play.
This is from the News page at the time (there were other changes too, but this bit specifically addresses the gold thing). It refers to 40 free sprinkles but that has since been increased.
Everyone now gets an easy-to-collect daily quota of 40 free sprinkles for watering Gardens. Your free sprinkles don't expire, but you do need to use them up before collecting your next daily quota. This is to encourage active play, however if you have no time to play today, you can still quickly log in to collect today's sprinkles and keep them, then you'll effectively have 80 free sprinkles available tomorrow :)
After using your free sprinkles for the day, you can continue watering using Gold as usual.
Less Gold Required To Play
Places where you need to use Gold to buy things in the game have been reduced:
Regular food is now completely free (and also faster - a similar speed to the old Organic) to ensure that every garden can always have food out
Seeds which used to cost Gold now cost Diamonds instead
Extra Storage Shelves now cost Diamonds instead of Gold
Plants no longer die, so Gold Dust is no longer required for this. Instead, they just remain wilted until revived (which is also now free!)
Basic Pots are now free for everyone (no need to complete 'herbalism' first, as was previously the case)
Important: We've made the above improvements to replace old/slow/tedious ways of making Gold in the game (garden games, wilter snails, collect gold, alchemy, mushrooms) which are all being discontinued. The new additions should adequately compensate for the features replaced, giving a good (and much more equal) amount of free play to all players, and even better value if you buy Gold too :)