According to the Consumer Price Index, the price for two heads of lettuce has gone up nearly 8% in a year, causing some in Siouxland to look into starting their own self-sustainable supply this spring.

Shawn Emge has served Siouxland gardeners for nearly a decade now at Earl May Garden Center in Riverside, consisting of folks shopping for Mother’s Day flowers but also those wanting to save some cash at the grocery store by home-growing their produce. “With the prices at the grocery store being what they are, it gives people a chance to get outside and make their own produce basically,” said Emge.

Emge said the biggest cost new gardeners will run into is fertilizer. Its price continues to rise because of trade conflicts with major natural gas suppliers like Russia and China, but Gage Perrin at Southdale Garden Center said there are other solutions to give vegetables the nutrients they need. “I have a worm compost, so I’ll mix some worm dirt in with the water, and I’ll water them that way. It depends on what the plant needs, such as potassium or different types of nutrients…you save a lot on fertilizer that way,” said Perrin.

Perrin said tomato plant seedlings at Southdale were hydroponically grown, bringing them stronger sources of nutrients and, in her opinion, making them taste better than store-bought. She said last year, that her tomato harvest was so large that she was able to share with neighbors and conserve some too.

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