Starting to wish you could send any settler to any settlement. I don't see the point in having all these small locations dotted around, when they know that most people will use Sanctuary as the main. And even though I wanted to be different and have the MinuteMen headquarters be elsewhere from Sanctuary, I haven't found any where that's suitable. West Everett Estates or Fort Hagen would have been nice, though you can't use those.
So far Abernathy Farms is my secondary, because of all the pre plotted vegetation and the soil plots on both sides of the house (which is cool as well). It's the lack of additional space or buildings that make it unsuitable as any thing other than a farm.
Which means I can't stop using Sanctuary as a primary location for GMO food manufacturing. This is particularly good since I get that plant/food bug a lot where you can't harvest or select/move a plant in the workshop. All of the ones in places like Abernathy and Crossing, are working 100%.
The boathouse was fun to setup as some type of big defense check point along the road, though with the infrequency of raiders and the realization that there probably won't be many mutant caravans passing by, it's kinda wasted.
At this point when I unlock a new settlement, I check to see if the native inhabitants can be moved at which point I send them to Abernathy, Boathouse or Sanctuary. If they cannot be moved then I lay down a small generator, a spot light, a recruitment radio beacon, three wooden defensive posts, a water pump, five mutfruit trees and five sleeping bags. I assign one of the workers to the food, one to the three defense posts and then send a spare person from Sanctuary to act as the supply line. Then I check every several days on how they are doing, though otherwise I forget about them intentionally.
Settlements just seem futile to me and the never ending grind of amending, moving, rebuilding and spending hours playing Fallout Minecraft, is leading me into nothing tangible.
So, a few comments.
Sanctuary is too far away from everything to truly be a central settlement. To get something like Somerset to trade with them would get your provisioner killed almost every other trip. What I've setup is three central points, with the surrounding settlements feeding them. I found that Starlight, the Boathouse, and Hangman's Alley allowed enough coverage to get all the other settlements. The only two settlements that I don't have connected to anything are Spectacle Island and Egret Marina (the former because provisioners die during the swim, the later to get 100% happiness).
Starlight can actually support 80 water and plenty of food. Once you've removed the three nuclear barrels the water source is clean. The entire area can then become farming and shops, which will lead to an amazing place for everything from the shops to the *item name extracted because it ruins the story*.
The initial cost for settlements is insane. Once you've dumped the money in though, settlements prove their use. Between providing huge amounts of materials, bottlecaps, and trading opportunities they're the only way to make your resources mean anything. Heck, the only way to get cannonballs and cryo rounds is through vendors. The catch is that the insane cost is multiplied several times over, and the higher your charisma the more effort you need to put into settlements. I've sunk maybe 30% of my time into settlements, and more often than not I waddle out of dungeons over encumbered with crap to build more at the settlements.
I've also had an opportunity to deal with the plants a bit more. It seems as though damaged plants sometimes don't despawn. This is why you can't move these plants, but they also don't produce food. It seems to be more prevalent with Tatos and Corn. Again, a half realized and poorly implemented mechanic. This seems to be the case with tons of items, as I've waited two in-game months to have certain enemies and weapons never despawn.
I think settlements are a great idea, but poorly realized. They are a huge resource sink, which does eventually pay off. Bethesda has, as usual, implemented a new feature that only half works and has no documentation.
I speak from some experience here. The only settlement I don't have in the Airport (not far enough in the story). I've currently got just shy of 50,000 caps, and about 90% of that is from settlements. The only weapon I don't have 1000-10000 ammo for is the mini-nuke. All of this is because after settlements are built they're annoying cash cows. As long as you've got two minute men quests pending no more generate, so you can leave them hanging at the "talk to Preston" phase without any negative consequences.
Welcome to every Bethesda game. Half done, and waiting for the community to make it better. Sigh...
Side note, purified water is money. It increases at about the same rate as caps, but is worth about 10 times as much. 4000 units of purified water at Diamond City will allow you to buy everything out, and still have extra to spare.
Between the Boathouse, Egret, Starlight, Spectacle, and Murkwater I've been able to have water in such surplus that it isn't funny.