You don’t have to grow grape tomatoes or strawberries on the balcony to appreciate the “A Year in the Garden” calendar, but you’ll know what to do with a crop — or box — of them if you have this handy guide.
Created by Jerusalem illustrator, guide and home farmer Ilana Stein, the 12-month, hand-illustrated calendar serves as a monthly guide to home gardening and local foraging in Israel.
It grew out of her own interest in kitchen gardens and foraging, something she does a lot of in her garden and neighborhood of Ein Kerem.
Stein began making the calendar four years ago, as a kind of guide to the garden, showing what to grow and make monthly and seasonally.
She initially launched the Hebrew calendar with a small crowdfunding program that quickly gathered speed and collected the requested sum in just one day.
“People really loved it,” said Stein.
Stein and her life partner, David, have developed the calendar each year, adding new produce and recipes, returning to certain items, but always renewing the content.
This year, Stein, who was born in the US to American parents but grew up here, decided to translate the calendar to English for the English-speaking audience in Israel, and for those living outside Israel who want a connection to the land of Israel.
“It’s very local, all about the land and the earth, and whoever uses the calendar is of this place,” said Stein. “But we decided to take a step forward.”
The calendar, which has a feel of a Mollie Katzen cookbook, given the handwritten text and illustrations, is a delightful look at the Israeli seasons, starting with January 2019, and following the Gregorian year.
Each month is illustrated with original watercolor drawings, with tips for home gardens, including sowing, planting and pruning tips and times, as well as hints and guidelines for home gardening, particularly in an urban environment. The calendar includes the monthly dates for the new moon and full moon, international and Jewish holidays and seasonal vegan recipes.
“The connection to agriculture is about usefulness, mostly for the kitchen, and a little medicinal, too,” said Stein.
As Stein continues to learn more about home agriculture, she adds more information to the annual calendar. This year, she focused on vegetables as well as the life cycle of the bee and what happens to the bee each month of the year.
She’s thinking about permaculture and the science of sustainability for next year’s edition.
“It’s always updated for what is interesting to people,” she said. “The world of nature is endless, there’s just no end to the information out there.”