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About a Luffa Vine

luffa-seeds-botanicalinterestsSo after all the doubt and questioning, my luffa did make…lots and lots of luffas (AKA loufas, luffahs, etc. They do not come from the sea.). In fact, there are still a couple of them about 40 feet up in a tree. If anyone would like to climb up to get them, you can have some lovely sponges.

The luffa seeds are the Gourd Luffa/Chinese Okra/Cee Gwa, Sze Qwa (yeah, no idea) variety from Botanical Interests, one of my fave seed companies [and an affiliate!].

I am relying on the ‘related posts’ thingy at the end of this post as well as the tag link above to refer you to older posts. But just know that all of my luffas came from ONE seed. ONE. One. Seriously, thank god the other seedlings died. So if things ever go sour in the “official twitterer, website maker, and other things doer for school division of audiobook publisher” business, I may turn into a luffa farmer. I mean, a handful of seeds and I’d have about a million luffas, I think. But I’m not that good at math.

luffa

Size of luffa at some point during the summer. Toenails matching flip flops is purely coincidence, I swear.

I’m definitely going to try and grow these things again next year. But next year I will start way earlier. As evidenced by my thinking the things weren’t going to fruit at all, they fruit REALLY late and take along time to mature.

And to harvest the things, you have to let them dry out on the vine. I have read methods where you don’t have to and can peel them when they’re green, but I had no luck when I tried that. They weren’t as fibrous and I couldn’t get the goop (the actual fruit) out of them.

luffas-tree

Luffas growing up a VERY tall tree. Circles added for additional helpfulness.

I picked most of them and let them dry out for a while on the deck, then moved most of those to the shed as it started to get colder. Normally it probably wouldn’t have been a problem to let them dry out all the way on the deck or in the shed, but it got cold very early here this year and weather has been crazy (it’s sleeting/snowing right now), so the luffas froze before they could dry out all the way and I figured they would have just turned into a rotten mess after they thawed.

luffas-drying

Luffas drying on an old closet door.

A couple of them had mostly dried on the vine, though, so those I peeled and cleaned. They still had a little goop in them, so I put them in the dehydrator for a while and that went away. I still have 2 that I brought inside to try and dry. They are dry now, and though they have a little mold on the outside I think they will be fine when I peel them.

luffa-peeled

Luffa - peeled

I sliced up the ones that worked and didn’t bother bleaching them as some places suggested. I tied them on gift bags to go with my home-made bath salts and other goodies. They can be used as a bath sponge or a kitchen scrubber. I’ve used mine as a kitchen scrubber and it works pretty darn well.

sliced-luffa

Crappy cell phone pic of sliced luffa.

Even if I didn’t get any fruit, the vine is really very pretty and I wouldn’t mind growing it again just for that. Remember that it’s a VERY looooong vine, though. Not for tiny gardens!

luffa vine

Luffa VIne

What did I do with all of the luffas that froze? I just tossed them in the small wooded area around the house. So it’s entirely possible that several of those will seed themselves in the spring. Which would be…interesting.

4 Comments

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jennah, Jennah. Jennah said: New blog post: About a Luffa Vine http://bit.ly/g3rYBY #luffa #gardening [...]

  2. Gardenmom29No Gravatar says:

    Neat! I can’t wait to try growing them. I might grow them in a ring around my garden. So glad you sent me some seeds.

    1. JennahNo Gravatar says:

      Remember, they get HUGE! And you will have to do some vine organizing to get them in a line like I had them. I finally started moving them when I realized how long they were going to be. They do make a very pretty border, though!

  3. MOMNo Gravatar says:

    I think you have 10 green thumbs. Your Mom Mom and Granny would be so proud!

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