Garden and Plants


Garden Care

May one remove rocks from his field?

It is forbidden to do so if one’s intent is to help the areas under the rock grow.[1] It is permitted to do so if one is removing the rock for other purposes.


May one spray pesticide on his plants and produce during Shemitah?

One may do so for purposes of preventing loss or destruction to the plants due to insects.[2] It is forbidden to do so for the purpose of extended growth.[3]


May one remove weeds from his garden?[4]

No.[5] However any weed which is damaging the plant or a tree may be removed.


Laws related to Pod Plants


May one plant inside of a pod that is sitting on the ground during Shemitah?

It is forbidden to plant any item during Shemitah inside of a pod that contains a hole. If the pod does not contain a hole then if it is made of wood or earthenware it is forbidden to plant within it.[6] If it is made of glass or metal then some Poskim[7] rule it is permitted while others[8] rule it is Rabbinically forbidden, and so is the custom.


May one plant in a pod within one’s house during Shemitah?

Some Poskim[9] rule that Shemitah laws do not apply to any plant that is grown within a roofed home. One may thus plant all products within the pod and the products do not have a Shemitah status and are not forbidden due to Sefichin. This applies even if the pod is made of earthenware or wood. Other Poskim[10] however are stringent in this matter and rule that it is forbidden to plant or perform any Melacha to pod plants within a home, just like all Shemitah produce. Practically many are lenient to permit Melacha to all pod plants that are within a closed pod that does not contain holes, and is within a roofed room.[11]

Practically even those that are lenient must fulfill the following conditions:

  1. The pod is closed without holes
  2. There is a roof on top of the Pod. This excludes the allowance to plant a pod in one’s porch.
  3. The room contains walls which reach a height of ten Tefach [80cm].
  4. There is a sheet of PVC or aluminum [tin foil; disposable baking pan or tray] under the pod to create an interval between the parts of the plant that grow out from the pod and the floor which it hovers.


May one plant in water [Hydroponics] during Shemitah?

Some Poskim[12] rule it is permitted to plant all types of foods within a water pod [hydroponics] during Shemitah if the pod does not contain any earth ingredients. Other[13] Poskim rule it is forbidden.


May one water a pod plant during Shemitah?

One may water a pod plant to prevent damage or loss towards the plant. One may not do so for its continued growth and development, unless the plant is within a roofed room, in which case according to some opinions it is permitted to water it even for growing purposes.


May one enter pod plants onto his porch during Shemitah?

Some Poskim[14] rule it is forbidden to move a pod plant during Shemitah from a roofed area to a non-roofed area. Other Poskim[15] rule it is permitted to do so. Practically the custom is to be stringent.  


May one enter pod plants into one’s home during Shemitah?



May one walk under areas that contain pod plants, such as under a porch?[16]

Yes. This applies even if the pods have holes.


May one enter flowers into a water vase during Shemitah?[17]


[1] This falls under the Melacha of Sikul which is Rabbinically forbidden. [Rambam 1/4]

[2] As this is considered Leikumeiy which is permitted.

[3] This falls under the Melacha of Ishun which is Rabbinically forbidden during Shemitah. [Rambam 1/4][Rambam 1/4]

[4] Toras Hashemitah 4/15

[5] This is included within the Melacha of Nekush which is Rabbinically forbidden to be done during Shemitah.

[6] Maharil Diskin 27/1; Toras Hashemitah 2/4; Admur 336/12 regarding Shabbos

[7] Implication of Maharil Diskin ibid brought in Toras Hashemitah ibid

[8] Nechpah Bekesef 1/4; Sadeh Haaretz 3/28; Chazon Ish Tosefes Shevis 1 in name of Ridbaz 1/6

[9] Peas Hashulchan 20 Beis Yisrael 52; Yerushalmi Arla1/2 leaves this matter in question and the Peas Hashulchan ibid concludes that one may be lenient today when Shemitah is only of Rabbinical obligation.

[10] Chazon Ish Shevis 22; Gra”ch Neah p. 2304

[11] Chazon Ish ibid; Hashemitah 3/1-5; Grach Naah ibid “don’t protest against those that are lenient”

[12] Nechpah Bekesef 1/5; Sadeh Haaretz 3/28; Toras Hashemitah 2/4; Hilchos Shevis 1/6 in name of Chazon Ish

[13] Har Tzevi Zeraim 2/31-6; Har Tzevi 11; See Admur 33617 regarding Shabbos “One who soaks wheat or barley and the like in water in order for it to grow is liable for the planting prohibition. This applies even if one soaks only a single kernel. For this reason it is forbidden to place kernels in water with intent to leave them there for enough time for them to be able to grow.”

[14] Chazon Ish Shevis 22/1; Toras Hashemitah 2/4; See Admur 336/12 regarding the prohibition of doing so on Shabbos.

[15] Sefer Hashemita 3/1; Minchas Shlomo 1/41-3

[16] Or Letziyon 1/6

[17] Admur 336/18 regarding Shabbos; Minchas Yerushalayim 2/25

About The Author

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.