January 20, 2006 at 12:49 pm #236861
I have heaps of luffa seeds if anyone wants to try growing them? They’re edible, attractive and useful.
luffa sponge, loofa, loofah, sponge gourd, Luffa cylindrica, Luffa aegyptiaca, and aegyptica.
– edible when young and can be cooked and eaten like squash or okra
– cleaning almost everything, including dishes, people, cars, boats, plastic buckets, and anything that needs scrubbed but can’t withstand steel wool.
Most are grown in a warm climate and have the benefit of a long growing season. Luffas grow best in full sun in a well-prepared bed. It is optional to soak in warm water for a few hours before planting. Some say this improves germination rates. Plant seeds 20-30cm apart along a fence. Once they get established, the plants are quite vigorous. They grow on vines that can reach 10m in length. A strong supporting trellis is a must.
The small seedlings grow very slowly while the roots become established. Once they are about 15cm tall the increase in growth rate is phenomenal. When the vines bloom, bright yellow flowers attract all types of nectar gathering creatures. The flowers are quite pretty and abundant. When the flowers wilt, slender cucumber-like vegetables appear. The vines continue to grow and produce fruit until the weather cools and the sponges begin to mature.
Harvest and Process:
When the sponges are ready for harvest (dark brown and dry shell, very lightweight and rattle when shaken) they can be peeled. Crack the dry skin and peel off, starting at the stalk end. When you get to the base, many seeds will tumble out so be ready to catch them. The remainder of the seeds can be shaken out. Give your sponge a good scratch and wash, shake well and set to dry in an airy place. Your luffa is ready to use or give. Save plump seeds in a cool, dry place until next Spring.
These sponges are machine washable. They can be sun bleached, or lightened using hydrogen peroxide or a diluted chlorine bleach solution. Ours are fine in their natural state. To colour or dye clean and cut the sponges to desired lengths and dye using natural or commercial dye. Dry well. Attach cord through one end of the luffa to hang in the shower. Cut into many shapes for pads, mats, and other craft items – cut the sponges lengthwise and remove the core to make sheets of sponge material.
References:January 20, 2006 at 3:31 pm #261397ChristopherMember
Welcome to this forum… it was very nice to see your name here in pixels!
We grow lots of luffa here. It is a semiannual perrenial. Its self seeds prolificly, too, so we never “plant” it, it plants itself.
We like to make coconut oil soap, and we will soak the loofa piece in oil, making a soap impregnated loofa sponge…. suitable for christmas, birthdays, we sell them, too.
We also use them as mulchable scrubbies…. cleaning posts and things with them and then throwing them in the compost when they get too ratty (which is after months of use…)
We eat them, too, when young…
LOoofa is great!
CJanuary 21, 2006 at 12:17 am #261398
IU’d love some seeds but not sure if thgey will take off down here in Melb. Will give them a go if you are happy to send some.
Will PM you address.January 21, 2006 at 2:07 am #261399
That soap sounds delish, Christopher. Nice to see you here too! My luffa self-seeds too.
Mel, on their way.
BelJanuary 21, 2006 at 11:25 am #261400bushyMember
Yes please, I’ll have a few. PM your post address and I’ll send an SAE. Also check my photos re. wax jambu.
:D:D:D:D:DJanuary 21, 2006 at 10:43 pm #261401
Thanks very much Bella. Look forward to receiving them and giving them a go down here.January 27, 2006 at 12:24 pm #261402
Mel and Bushy, don’t know if I said so, but they’re in the mail.
BelJanuary 30, 2006 at 12:30 am #261403
Received seeds today Bella. Will plant them this afternoon. If they take off doen here I’ll post some pics. Thanks sooooooooooo much!!January 30, 2006 at 12:16 pm #261404
I notice they’re still springing up here in the cracks of pathways and through the lawn, LOL. My self-seeded ones are all mature.
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