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Feeding animals clippings from fruit trees during shemitah

Dr. Mordechai Shomron, agronomist

I live in a moshav and I have a petting zoo with seven goats.
Every so often I prune the trees in the garden, such as olive, loquat, avocado, and mango trees, and feed the clippings to the goats. I wanted to know if I can continue doing this during the shemitah year with the olive trees (which are growing only for ornamental purposes; I don’t use or eat the olives)?

Covered balcony gardens during shemitah

Rabbi Moshe Bloom

I have been asked to plant a balcony garden. I don't have time before shemitah. It is on the 9th floor of a tall building. Not penthouse floor. There are balconies below and above the balcony. Does this constitute planting to move plants in pots from the nursery and placing them on the tiled concrete balcony during the shemitah year?

Gardening guidelines in a nutshell for private gardens with a vegetable patch

Rabbi Ehud Ahituv

Could you please give me detailed guidelines ahead of the coming shemitah year for my home garden that has fruit trees and a vegetable patch? I want to know about the major prohibitions, advanced preparation necessary, and modes of permissible care throughout the year.

Shemitah QA 3

Rabbis of Torah VeHa'aretz Institute

Several days ago, I received a cactus plant in a small perforated planter. The planter is very small and soon will not have enough room for the cactus.

  1. Can I plant it in my yard or in a larger planter? How should I go about doing it?
  2. What should I do with the plant to prevent it from withering up and dying?

Trees possibly planted during shemitah

Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Amichay

I harvested olives from olive trees that were planted during the shemitah year. The trees belong to the municipality, a local authority, and I received permission to harvest them. Four years passed from the time they were planted, and when I harvested the olives I didn't know that they were planted during the shemitah year. The trees were planted together with their clod of soil. Is there a way to use the olives? Could selling the olives to a non-Jew and buying them back help in any way?

QA Shemitah 4

Rabbis of Torah VeHa'aretz Institute

I am in charge of the Home Owner's Association in our apartment building, and am the only religious (Religious Zionist) resident in the building. From the beginning of the shemitah year, I did not bring our regular gardener because of shemitah. Recently, neighbors have been putting more and more pressure on me to bring a gardener so our garden will look normal. The garden really does look neglected. As a religious person, I'm not sure if I'm halachically allowed to bring my Jewish gardener, and if so, what is he allowed to do?

Shemitah QA 1

Rabbis of Torah VeHa'aretz Institute

Is it permitted during the shemitah year to cover fruit trees (apricot, in my case) with netting to protect them from birds and insects?

Soaking seeds in water during shemitah

Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Amichay

I know that we're not allowed to soak seeds in water on Shabbat. But I read that we're allowed to soak seeds during the shemitah year. Why is the former forbidden and the latter permissible?

Shemitah Guides

Rabbi David Eigner

I searched the website and I couldn't find a comprehensive guide on the laws of shemitah for the private garden. Does such a guide exist? I'd appreciate the link.

Sefichin in the home vegetable garden

Rabbi David Eigner

My question is about sefichin in my vegetable garden. B"H, I have a thriving vegetable patch in my yard. This upcoming shemitah I'm not planning on growing anything; I will let it lie fallow. My question is about the crops that are now flowering and growing. I have crops that I planted at three different times:

  1. An eggplant bush, planted a year and a half ago, which has been producing beautiful eggplants for several months already.
  2. A kale bush, planted more than 10 months ago, now big and beautiful.
  3. Various vegetables, planted six months ago: tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkin butternut squash, and eggplant. Some of the vegetables are already past the point of the pinnacle of their growth, but the pumpkin patch, for instance, is now at the height of its growth.

From what I understood, it is possible that these crops would be considered sefichin and will be forbidden to eat during the shemitah year (unless I uproot them before shemitah begins). I thought, though, that maybe because the plants are veteran—planted between six to eighteen months ago—they might not be included in the prohibition.

I would like to receive your answer on the matter. Do I need to uproot all of my vegetables before shemitah due to the sefichin prohibition?