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June 2005 "Secrets of Gardening"

HDP’s experience in the last three years showed that distributing seeds to vulnerable families is a useful program. Our beneficiaries planted the seeds and were rather satisfied with the results. However, we learned something else during this process: there were many new varieties of seeds in the family package and many farmers had no idea how to use, harvest or treat them. HDP’s founder David Watt took an initiative of a gardening book, which would help the Armenian farmers to use the seeds more effectively. This is how the “Secrets of Gardening” born: it was the logical continuation of the seed distribution.

The materials included in the Book are easy to understand both for professionals and regular agronomists. The Book provides brief information about common and new varieties of vegetable seeds. It also includes information on how to grow the plants, how to control diseases and pests, nutritional value of those plants and finally, a couple of recipes on each plant. The maps of first and last frost, soil fertility are adding value to the Book.

All materials were taken from Canadian, American, Russian and Armenian sources. It’s worth mentioning that the Book was put together by pure volunteer time and efforts. Dave selected the sources and materials, Ruzan Ter-Ghazaryan and Narine Hakobjanyan put together the materials and pictures, translated them, Nara Ghazaryan did editing of the Book. Vahan Amirkhanyan adjusted the materials to the Armenian environment in addition to technical editing.

The Book is typed for and will be distributed to the beneficiaries of HDP Seed distribution program in different marzes of Armenia. David Lee Watt was professor in agricultural economics for more than 20 years at Fargo State University, USA. He had Doctor’s degree from Michigan State University, and Master’s degree in psychology and sociology. Dave was an author of many books and articles. During the last 11 years Dave lived and worked in Armenia: he believed that his personal mission was to help Armenians. Dave was the first in Armenia to introduce and apply Mittlider’s high yield gardening method, developed relevant literature in Armenian. Now this method is being used in different regions of Armenia. Dave is also the co-author of the “Farm Management”: this is the first Armenian book on this subject. “I spent my last years in Armenia concentrating on understanding the Armenian culture, mentality and those norms which would help me be more efficient in appreciating the Armenian history and taking care of this country. God has treated me well and now it’s my turn to help others”.

David Lee Watt

Some of us have been given the special ability to love and care about the people of God /Ephesians 4:11/

Press Release

“Secrets of Gardening“ is the new book released by Human Dignity and Peace Foundation (HDP). David Lee Watt was the author of this wonderful initiative. He came to Armenia more than 10 years ago from the University of North Dakota as an agricultural economist and consultant. He was impressed with the country and the people and decided to carry out programs that would contribute to the economic self-sufficiency of Armenia.

Dr. Watt founded Human Dignity and Peace Foundation in 1998 as he considered his mission to help Armenians and Armenia. Dr. Watt spent the last 11 years of his life serving Armenians. HDP is a volunteer – based NGO with a focus on rural development and income generation activities. Over the last seven years HDP has implemented programs throughout Armenia helping nursing homes, orphanages, earth quake zone residents, refugees and rural families. Many of the activities were performed in partnership and collaboration with ARDA, UMCOR, UNDP and Peace Corps. In the last three years HDP worked with UMCOR distributing vegetable seeds to rural families with limited resources. It immediately became obvious that many of the vegetables were not familiar to Armenian gardeners. Dr. Watt and Sergey Khatchaturov decided that a book about vegetables was necessary and this is how the book was born.

The “Secrets of Gardening“ book was developed to provide simple, popular and yet inclusive information and basic education on how to grow vegetables both common in Armenia and new varieties that were being introduced to Armenia. The hope was that these new varieties would enrich the nutrition of rural people and be nice additions to their recipes. This book contains information about the planting directions and instructions, information on disease and pest problems, the value of vegetables as a food and cooking instructions. There are sections on the nutrients humans need and maps of Armenia showing frost-free days and soil fertility.

HDP started to gather appropriate literature from Canadian, American, Russian and Armenian sources. Ruzan Ter-Ghazarian and Narine Hakobjanyan made a lot of efforts in creating the book. They gathered information, scanned pictures, translated and compiled the pages. Nara Ghazarian edited and translated the book. Vahan Amirkhanyan and Genik Movsesyan did technical editing, appropriateness and matched the materials vis-à-vis the Armenian reality.




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