Container Gardening Tips with Earl May

As the weather warms up across Iowa, gardeners and farmers alike are ready for planting season! Whether you’re using a trowel in your backyard garden or a 12-row planter in a field, working in the soil is a fun family activity that inspires an appreciation for how food is grown and raised.

In this video, Deanna Anderson with Earl May Nursery & Garden Centers demonstrates how to plant tomatoes, peppers, strawberries and herbs in container gardens. You’ll learn how to select container-friendly varieties, prepare the soil and nurture plants all summer long.

As you’re dreaming up your garden, consider planting a selection of vegetables and herbs that can be used to make salsa. Last summer, Earl May held a contest for the best salsa recipe and Paulette Marsh of Shenandoah submitted the following winning recipe.

Winning Freezer Salsa

Yield: 10 cups


  • 8 cups tomatoes – peeled, diced and seeded (Variety pick: Roma)
  • 2 medium green peppers, diced (Variety pick: Cal Wonder)
  • 2 large onions, diced (Variety pick: Red Onion)
  • 2 jalapeno peppers – seeded and chopped (for spicier salsa, do not seed)
  • ¾ cup tomato paste
  • ⅔ cup condensed tomato soup, undiluted
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 4 ½ tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper


In a Dutch oven or large saucepan combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Stir often.

Pour into small freezer containers or freezer bags. Cool to room temperature, about one hour. Cover or seal and freeze for up to three months.

About the Virtual Learning Series

Tune into the Iowa Food & Family Project’s new learning series to be virtually transported across the state for behind-the-scenes farm and restaurant tours, mealtime tips, cooking demonstrations and family-friendly activity ideas.

We’re sharing a new video every Thursday at noon CDT throughout April and May. You can access the videos on our Facebook, Instagram or YouTube channels.

Questions? Feedback? Ideas of people, places or activities for us to feature? Complete this form!