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Luffa

Luffa

We’re growing luffa at in the Jr Master Gardener’s garden. We got our seeds from Luffaseeds.com located in Round Rock, TX. I try to get as much of the JMG classroom and garden items donated because of our budget. They’re is another seed company that you can apply for donations through, but our timeline didn’t coincide. Nevertheless, I ordered these for only $3.95 for 20 seeds. I got the washrag gourd variety and you can check them out on their website.

I put them into a Jiffy starter greenhouse (the 12 peat pod size) and only one seed germinated. I put the remaining seeds into the empty peat pods and two more came up. I was hoping for more; actually I was hoping they’d all germinate. We planned to grow at least one plant at the community garden and give the remaining to each family. Oh, well.

Many factors could cause the seeds to not germinate so unless the Luffaseeds.com company guarantees it’s seeds I’m not going to complain.  I didn’t see a guarantee.  Sometimes, they just don’t grow; sometimes the environment you give them is wrong.  I set them inside for a week then outside.  Something happened to prevent the others from growing.

Anyway, one of the JMG projects is to grow luffa, dry it and give it as a gift.  We’ll try.  At least we’ll have 3 plants to collect gourds from. 

I had always used luffa from childhood until now, but never gave too much of a thought as to what is was.  I remember thinking as a youngster that since most people called it a luffa “sponge” that it was from the sea.  Then I finally learned it was a plant.  Did you know it is actually a plant you can eat?  I’m very interested in it as a nutritional item.  The website says that harvest time for luffa in order to eat it is 100 days.  I’m hoping we do everything right in order to grow this plant and I’ll be back with a story about our taste test. 

If you leave the gourd on the stem for an extra 30 days, you can dry it, strip it of its skin and wash out the seeds, and you have something to cleanse your skin with. 

I had always replaced my luffa after a while of use.  You’re supposed to wash your towels, replace your toothbrush and those brush-style scrubbers always need replacing so I figured you just throw out the luffa and replace it, too.  Instead, it is recommended that you rinse it out, soak it in a bleach mixture and sun dry it.  It can last a “long” time.

Now, the variety I bought can grow up to 12 feet, possibly more.  We have a small garden (16’x4′) so I’ve staked the area where I’ll plant the seedlings and will provide cross bars so that as it grows we can loop the vines around the cross bars.  I hope it turns out as planned.

Once we harvest the luffa I’ll update my journal about the drying process (was it easy/hard/time-consuming/worth it) and the harvesting process (what did it taste like?).

Meanwhile, happy scrubbing.

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