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Sefichin in the home vegetable garden

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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?


Rabbi David Eigner

The sefichin prohibition applies only to annual vegetables and plants that sprouted during the shemitah year itself. Sefichin does not apply to anything that sprouted prior to the shemitah year. In light of the above, all of that plants you mentioned in your question, which sprouted before shemitah, need not be uprooted. Of course, any vegetable you pick during the shemitah year from these plants should be handled appropriately, since they have kedushat shevi'it