True Cost of Installing an Automated Watering System?

Q.  I’m planning to install the automated watering system for my 18 raised Grow-Boxes.  I thought it was supposed to be inexpensive, but I’m nearing $300 for the PVC and fittings so far.  Maybe I’m buying the wrong things.  Can you give me the detailed list of what I need, and an estimate of what my 18 bed watering system should cost?

A.  In Salt Lake City, Utah  I would pay approximately the following for 18 beds, including risers from a main line.  I have not included the cost of your main line to the garden, since I don’t have any facts.

18 – 3/4″ T with Riser side threaded – – – – – – – – – – –  $ 13
54 – Male threaded adapters –  glue to pipe ends – – –  25
18 – Sch 200 pipe for risers 1′ each – – – – – – – – – – – –      2
18 – Slip/thread elbows – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –      6
18 – 1 1/2″ nipples  – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –     6
18 – Plastic threaded ball valve – – – – – – – – – – – – –       72
54 – 10′-long 3/4″ Sch 200 PVC pipe – – – – – – – – – – –    60
36 – slip/slip connectors to make 30′ lengths – – – – –       9
18 – threaded end caps – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –   9

Total – approximately $202. 

This represents a 20 year investment of  $10 per year, which is less than 6 cents per day of a 6 month growing season.  It will will save you money every day for 20 years on water, plus the time required for watering, and it will make the water distribution more accurate and effective.  We consider it a very inexpensive investment, with a high rate of return.