Digging to harvest sweet potatoes during shemitah
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I planted sweet potatoes in my garden this year (sixth year, 5781). Is it permissible to dig in the ground unearth the bulbs during shemitah (in small quantities, for home consumption)?
Rabbi Avraham Sochovolsky
It is permissible to dig up potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and other root vegetables even though this softens the earth. This is not considered plowing since it is clear that the digging is performed for the purpose of harvesting the vegetables.
However, you should not cover the holes with soil and straighten the ground after harvesting the vegetables. Instead, fill the holes with material that cannot be used for planting (such as gravel).