Detached platforms during shemitah (2)
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(1) During the shemitah year, do hydroponically grown crops need to grow in a "building" with a roof, walls, and a platform detaching is from the ground underneath?
(2) We want to build a hothouse that is a detached platform. How should I guide those constructing the hothouse (how high should the plants be above the ground, what is the thickness of the detaching material, which material should be used for the walls and roof, etc.). Thank you!
- To grow crops during shemitah (that were not planted prior to the onset of shemitah), they should be inside a structure defined halachically as a bayit (home). This is because growing plants in unperforated planters outdoors is prohibited miderabanan.
For this reason, even hydroponically-grown crops need to be grown indoors.
- To define a structure as a detaching platform, the following conditions should be present:
- The floor should be composed of sturdy material that does not tear/break easily and is non-porous. We recommend using hothouse nylon or tin. Palrig should not be used.
A stone, concrete, or asphalt surface is not effective, since such surfaces crack at times. Some maintain that since these surfaces are connected to the ground, they are considered part of it; thus they would not be considered a detached platform.
- The roof should be composed of strong, sturdy material. If the material is netting, ensure that it has at least 50% material.
- The height of the structure should be at least 10 tefachim; the walls should optimally be this height as well
For a full article named "Guidelines for Growing Indoors on Detached Platforms", see here.
Blessings of the Torah and the Land,
Torah VeHa'aretz Institute