Skip to content
Growing broccoli organically verses current farming practices

Growing broccoli organically verses current farming practices

Take a look at these Broccoli plants and heads starting to form.

This excites me because each leaf is perfect, the plants are thriving, and in a growing space of 65cm wide we have 4 broccoli plants happily growing.

These are in a black geofelt planter getting 2 min of irrigation a day via an automated timer.
They are covered with a Pestfree Mini which is fully protecting them from white cabbage moth and other pests.

Normally when planting in a veggie patch I would have the broccoli spaced about 60cm apart, whereas in the geofelt planter we are able to plant 4 in the space of 55cm wide and have them spread into the corners of the pestfree mini.

When you buy broccoli from Woolworths and it looks perfect it is not because they have used these methods. It is a result of being sprayed with insecticide (a polite way of saying poison)
It makes no sense that we cover a plant with a substance, that if we were to drink we would get very sick or even die.

You may have heard of the term 'withholding period' which really should be called 'not safe to eat period'. This is the amount of time a farmer must wait after coating it with poison before they can sell the food for consumption.

We can only trust that farmers are being honest and doing this. My experience with having neighbours who were growers, was they were pretty relaxed with regulations, including spraying when there was a breeze... We could smell the odour of the spray.

And then Ive spoken to other producers who have said they wouldn't eat their own produce as they know what they had to spray it with to make it look perfect for retail sale.

 Isn't it a crazy world we live in?

One popular chemical used on broccoli and many other crops is Simodis

Let me share some details about Simodis from their website and product documentation. 

What does LD50 mean?
LD stands for "Lethal Dose". LD50 is the amount of a material, given all at once, which causes the death of 50% (one half) of a group of test animals.

To explain, they feed this chemical to animals (rats, rabbits, guinea pigs) and time how long it takes for half of them to die..(I think it's safe to assume this is not a pleasant 'putting them to sleep' death but instead a quite barbaric, painful slow death)
 This same method has been used since 1927.

Take note of the Hazard mentioned: Suspected of damaging fertility OR the unborn child. 


Why do the farmers use it when the label and Safety Data Sheet (SDS) clearly explains this is dangerous stuff.

Because the buyers at Woolworths and Coles, when inspecting 2 lots of farmers produce and one is looking perfect and the other is chewed by grubs, chooses the perfect version (without questioning why).
The farmer has to feed his family too, so he quickly learns he needs to buy Simodis and start covering his vegetables in it.
I wonder if he stops feeding those broccoli to his own family.

As consumers we do the same thing at the supermarket choosing the perfect looking fruit or vegetable over the blemished one which in turn tells the supermarket produce buyers that they are making the right choice selecting unblemished growers produce.
We are locked into a cycle that seemingly has no end. 

Should we be worried?

That is up to you to decide. Yes, there is a withholding period that hopefully means the pesticide is no longer in the vegetable by the time you eat it. That plant has absorbed that chemical, we are then told to eat it. (A bit like the lab animals also told to eat this tasty substance)

As another well known example, we were also told that treated pine was totally safe for many years and built childrens playgrounds with it dispite knowing it had arsenic as an active ingredient.
Now all those childrens playgrounds have been ripped out and replaced with plastic because we now consider the treated pine dangerous.

The chemicals used in treated pine no longer have arsenic but have other chemicals to preserve the wood and stop termites and again we are told they are totally safe.. and amazingly effective.

Which food do you want to eat?

This is my picking basket that we keep in the kitchen with a pair of scissors always ready to duck out to the veggie garden and grab some fresh food for dinner.
Grown with soil, fresh air, water and sunshine and no chemicals.

Once you know what goes into our food, it is hard to beat growing your own veggies at home and that is why Kaylene and I are passionate about teaching families to be successful micro farmers.

Using tools like the Geofelt planters, Octaspray irrigation, Pestfree Covers, makes it within reach for families to grow healthy food at home even if they have never grown veggies before. Give it a go. We will be hear to support you. 

Watch our free classes to learn how. CLICK HERE

Previous article Could your garden earn you money?
Next article Kale – easy to grow with a few simple tricks .


Jackie - March 13, 2023

Hi Brian, really good explanation of withholding periods by the way. I work in food safety and am familiar with the term “withholding period” and its importance so well done for highlighting. Whilst all chemicals used are approved for use on a specific crop (customer demand for perfect looking fruit/veg all year round drives growers to use sprays and also for pest control), I grow some fruit/veg at home but use organic methods – no spraying of any chemicals. I have used Bugs for Bugs for a long time for beneficial insects such as lacewings to control different pests and diatomaceous earth for other pests (good for soil also) etc. Much better flavour and better for me.
I have a full grown apple tree as did a family member. They sprayed their tree 3-4 times each season with chemicals to control cabbage moths etc. – I never sprayed but used natural methods where needed. My tree looked healthier and the fruit was better (and no chems used). What more can I say.

carolynes - March 9, 2023

Thank you for all the above information. Years ago I was asked to type a report for a TAFE horticulture student. The topic was growing broccoli. He was taught to grow a green manure crop, spray it to kill it, then plant the broccoli, and spray that. I was horrified to think that this is standard practice.
Also, we have corrugated iron raised beds. We want to add a frame so the pest free covers can be attached. Looks like we won’t be using treated pine!

Leave a comment

* Required fields