Growing luffa gourds and Making a Luffa sponge

This year was a first for many things in the garden.  Probably the most dramatic new addition was the luffa gourds.

They got off to a bad start.  Soon after sprouting, they disappeared entirely one night.  Chipmunks?  Alien abduction?

So I planted more.  They soon sprouted and whatever got them the first time decided to give them a pass.  And they grew and grew, nearly taking over an entire side of the house.

luffa seeds

But then, I despaired they would produce luffa.  They finally bloomed, and bloomed great, but I couldn’t find any fruit.  The bumblebees had fits over the blossoms, and I was happy for them, but where were my luffa?

Then one day I saw them.  Tiny luffa, but getting bigger every day.  Would they have time to get big enough before it got too cold?

Yes!  Nine big ol’ luffa gourds, and a couple of runts.  Then came more waiting, waiting for them to begin to yellow–the sign they were ready to peel and begin the conversion into “sponges.”

Luffa are a real patience-tester.  It’s December, and most of my luffas are still lovely green specimens.  A few, however, have turned color and were ready for their transformation.

I dug in and started to peel.  The more brown the skin, the easier it was to peel.  The still-green comes off, just not without a fight.

Peeling luffa

It looked a bit like a very odd ear of corn at one point.

Once all the skin was off, I rinsed the luffa under a sprayer until the water ran more or less clear, and set it in a sunny window to dry.

Drying luffa

The seeds came out easier once the gourd was dry, although some seeds came out while it is being washed.  The bag of seeds pictured here is from ONE gourd, about a cupful.  Looks like I will have enough for my very own luffa revolution.

Vea (Ms.)
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Source: Little house in the Suburbs