Friends in Focus – Julia Liu

Julia in the garden this April.

Each month, we will be featuring a short interview with one of the members of our community so that you can get to know them a little better.

Julia Liu has been a constant in the garden the past three years and is helping teach in the Cooperative Vegetable Gardening Program that started up last month. We are so very grateful for her commitment to the Chuckanut Center’s mission of growing food, skills, and a resilient community.

Tell our readers a little bit about yourself. Who are you outside of the garden?

I called Atlanta, GA my home until about four years ago when my husband (Parker) and I moved to Bellingham, WA with our two dogs Sam and Zoe. Before settling here, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to travel in a van across the U.S. and Canada for a year. I enjoy reading, playing in the dirt, hiking/backpacking, climbing, and trail running. I hope to add mountain biking to that list very soon!

How long have you been gardening? 

It’s been about 10 years now. I started in my 20’s in a small plot in a community garden in Atlanta, GA. I moved into a house a few years later and built a couple of raised beds for vegetables and a compost bin for my kitchen scraps and yard waste. This will be my third growing season at the Chuckanut Center.

What have been some of your biggest challenges in the garden? 

Pests, slugs in particular. They’re incredibly destructive for something so little, and they’re everywhere here. I planted bush beans last year, and the slugs completely destroyed the plants in a matter of days.

What do you find most rewarding about your involvement with the Chuckanut Center? 

Besides having a place to grow food, I’ve met a lot of great people at the Chuckanut Center between all of the work parties during the summer months. I’m not sure if our paths would have crossed otherwise. 

What is one piece of advice you would give someone who has very little experience growing their own food? 

Don’t be afraid to try. Start small. Don’t give up. There’s so much satisfaction in being able to grow any amount of food. If things don’t turn out the way you had hoped, it’s a great learning opportunity for next time. 

Any favorite resources? 

Fellow gardeners – they’re probably my favorite source for local information.

What is your favorite thing to plant in May? 

I love fresh tomatoes, so I’m excited to be able to put a few tomato plants in the ground in May. I’ll be attempting to grow Thai chili peppers this season. I started a few plants from seed from my parents’ garden back in Atlanta, so we’ll see how that goes! I haven’t had much success with peppers in the past here.

Thanks, Julia, for your sharing your wisdom and experience with us!

If you would like to nominate someone to be featured in the Friends in Focus interview series, please email us at

-Contributed by Meg All