Monday, May 18, 2020

STAFF PICKS: In the Garden with Hong Chhuor

Photo Credit: Jonathan Vanderweit © 
Hong Chhuor is our Associate Director of Development. He first experienced opera in high school, while attending a Seattle Opera production of La bohème. In college, Hong pursued an internship under Perry Lorenzo in the company's education department. One of his favorite memories from that time was running the supertitles for the Young Artist Program production of… La bohème!

Hong loves growing edible and ornamental plants, and is passionate about tending to his backyard chickens. A silver lining to this challenging time has meant getting to spend more time in the garden, eating vegetables as soon as they're ready, or putting flowers in vases to enjoy inside. See below for tips, resources, and a recipe—happy gardening and eating!

  • - Mid-May is an exciting time of year for gardeners in our region because it is when we usually start planting hot-season crops like tomatoes, basil, corn and squash—but our springs can be unpredictable, so you have to pay attention to your young plants if you want them to thrive. If you’re just getting started with growing food or are new to edible gardening in the Pacific Northwest, Tilth Alliance’s Maritime Northwest Garden Guide is indispensable.

  • - Healthy gardens start with healthy soil. How do you know if your soil is healthy? Through a soil test of course! Free and low cost options exist through King County Conservation District and University of Massachusetts Amherst. Once you know what’s in your soil, you can determine which plants will thrive and which ones will struggle—and then amend your soil over time. Unfortunately, both services are suspended at the moment due to the pandemic, so put this information in your back pocket for now.

  • - For many, the crown jewel of their edible gardens is the tomato—but they can be challenging to grow in our climate. In terms of bang for your buck (both for productivity and easy maintenance), nothing beats kale! Here’s a quick and easy recipe for massaged kale salad. It’s delicious and nutritious!

  • - Did you inherit a garden and wonder what treasures are thriving in your yard? Or, are you taking more walks through your neighborhood and seeing some things for the first time? If you have a plant that you’ve been admiring but have no idea what it is, try Picture This – Plant Indentifier, available on the App Store and Google Play.

  • - Ready to graduate from growing plant food to keeping chickens, bees, rabbits, ducks and goats? Yes, you CAN do this as a city-dweller and there are many local businesses that support urban farming in our region. Learn more with Your Farm in the City and explore how you can create a symbiotic resource loop with your plants and animals. 

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