Luffa Sponges Don't Come From The Sea

Luffa's are gourds and we're growing them like crazy

I first saw a luffa years ago, bought one and thought it was a nice scrubby thing to have in the shower. They also started popping up as biodegradable dish scrubbers and embedded in glycerin soap.

Being a permaculture guy I loved that these sponges were made by nature, not from plastic and I figured they were some kind of sea sponge or something.

leaves-luffas-mushrooms-2.jpg

This summer I was hunting around on YouTube for garden videos and watched a woman growing luffa gourds above her porch on a giant trellis and I was fascinated. So off to Amazon I went to buy some seeds knowing there was zero chance of finding them locally.

In a few days the seeds arrived and I put them into starter pots filled with organic potting soil so they could sprout quickly. They sprouted in 4 days and planted in the ground a few days later.

For the first month or so in the ground they didn't do much but that could have been because July was insanely hot in Pennsylvania. When August came, the 5 strongest plants took off and started climbing everything they could get their grabby things wrapped around.

luffa-vine.jpg

In early August the first 3 luffa gourds appeared and grew large but new fruit kinda stalled out for 2 weeks. I got a little concerned about them being a big space hog for 3 sponges but late August revealed 10 healthy gourds and counting.

It seems that this plant really likes the water that is soaked into the 4 inches of raw wood chip mulch and is growing like crazy now in early September.

luffa-female.jpg

With the cooler September days and long hours of sun the luffa is changing every day at this point. It will be really interesting to see how many grow by October and ripen fully for picking.

~ Corey Bornmann

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