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High Yield Gardens for Farmers

The Mittleider gardening method has been successful in 27 countries all over the world including Russia, Ukraine. This methodology is ideal for places with surplus labor, good climate for growing vegetables, little rainfall, poor soil fertility due either lack of fertilizer availability or simply bad soil characteristics like salty soil, rocky soil, or lack of organic matter.

HDP has distributed vegetable seeds to over 1600 families in 2003 and over 2100 families. Observations on the results motivated a desire to improve the benefits of land and the seeds for those with gardens in Armenia.

The Mittleider method is designed to address the lack of knowledge on high yielding vegetable production. This worldwide successful gardening method has consistently increased vegetable yields by anywhere between three to ten times with increasing benefits as beneficiaries gain experience with the technology. This is a combination of hydroponics and gardening with intensive supply of fertilizer and watering. The method is simple enough for use by individuals with levels of education and little gardening experience. However, the principles withstand scrutiny by well educated experts in agronomy and horticulture. Technical assistance and training are essential parts of this program that are also preconditions for success.

Using the Mittleider method, a family can supply their annual needs for vegetables using 170 square meters of land. The Mittleider method is very economical with water, labor and fertilizer. Only 50 square meters need to be tilled, planted and watered. In most situations 600 liters of water per day is sufficient for the family garden. In some parts of the world, this amount of water is carried in buckets from a distance to provide for food needs. It is difficult in Armenia to change the long term concept that watering is done only when the government supplies irrigation water. Many Armenian homes include 450 square meters of land available for gardening, this method could provide those with land the opportunity to sell or barter two-thirds of their production for other family needs. It provides income generation for successful gardeners.

In the spring of 2004, HDP began a multi-year program of promoting better production, better food supply and healthier food production for their beneficiaries. HDP began working with 64 families in 8 communities around Gyumri area in March. Agricultural inputs, seeds and training are continuously provided to beneficiaries for the application of the new method of gardening. This is a pilot project which will allow us to expand based on our experience and lessons learned. This method is now being spread to other regions of Armenia.

The goal of the HDP Foundationís Mittleider Gardening program in Armenia is to provide income generation opportunities for target communities. HDP Foundation has started this initiative to help Armenians with small plots of land produce food to eat. If they are successful in this, they can expand to have product to sell. HDP Foundation organization is coordinating activities, including training of the involved communities; procurement of fertilizers; developing educational materials in the Armenian language; working with local agronomists to ensure project oversight and monitoring; recruiting volunteers; logistics; etc.



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