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Thursday, May 9, 2013

LUFFA from start to finish


 It all started with a gift sent to me from another blogger of some Luffa seeds - and for the life of me I cannot remember who it was - so if you are reading this - PLEASE - leave a message.

I have remembered - Path To Simple Living - and it is not current anymore - but just in case you read this - thankyou.....

 
Seeds were all planted out as soon as the weather warmed up in about September 2012. It took a little while for them to appear but they grew fairly quickly right from the start.
 

 
I had no idea as to the scale these plants would grow and how they would come to cover the whole end of my enclosed vegetable garden.

The first few fruit that set fell of. Then this one stayed. And from then on it has not stopped setting fruit. This is the first fruit and was taken on the 23/1/2013
 
 
The vine has the prettiest flowers and they attract bees but mostly black ants - it seems that the ants did the pollinating. I was in the garden one day and bumped my head on the fruit and an ant fell into my ear. I was so scared I was going to have to get myself to a doctor and it was the most unnerving feeling - but I got it out. I was home alone. I am much more careful now.
 

 
The vine is dense and provides a lot of shade. As summer came around it loved the rain and just kept growing and growing. I will not be planting it on my vegetable garden like that again. I want to get an old cloths line and grow it over that in a corner of my garden and have seats in the shade this summer. Problem is I have possums and I have to keep it protected from them.

 
The birds ate a few but generally speaking the plant provides it's own protection with the fruit growing under the leaves - the leaves are quite large and the fruit hangs down under the top layer of leaves.

This is the first fruit that set and it is growing quite large. This was taken on the 24/2/2013. So one month from the first photo. And it keeps growing and growing.

 
Beautiful shady vine - just not good when you trying to grow other vegetables under it.

 


 
Then they start to change colour and dry out. You can feel them getting dryer and dryer.

I just knew by the touch of this one that it was dry enough. The skin felt very dry and when I squeezed it I could feel the fibres inside and I shook it and could hear the seeds inside.

 
Then I peeled it. Very easy to get of.

Then I shook the seeds out. I banged it on the counter top and loosened up any more on the inside. Look how many seeds I got from one plant. If you want a few just send me your postal address and I will share what I have spare.

I will not bleach this one, or any of the others hopefully. There is no wetness to it at all. I cannot see that it will go mouldy.
 
And there you go. I have my own Luffa sponges.
I will pick them as they dry on the vine and I will definitely have enough for my personal use as well as gifts for friends. This is definitely something that I will grow again.


 

7 comments:

  1. Hi Wendy

    Did you know you can make loofa soaps? Just search loofa soaps, there are several tutorials.
    I enjoy your blog.
    Gillian

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    Replies
    1. I have looked up making the soaps. I have so many luffa to do something with so I will give this a go. Thanks, Wendy

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  2. How long was it before you saw your 1st flower? I planted mine the 1st week of may and have yet to get a single flower (today is August 9). They get plenty of water, full sun, and all the other squash & gourds in the garden are producing like crazy. I've never grown these before so is there something I need to be doing that I am unaware of? I'm in Northern Virginia (western Loudoun county)
    Greg

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    Replies
    1. Hi there. If memory serves me correct it was about 4 months. Once it starts flowering it did not stop, even when it was dying of and I pulled the plant out. Be patient. How big are the vines so far? They were fairly tall before they got flowers. I will have to sit down and write an update on this post now that I have pulled out last years vines and harvested all of the luffa. Cheers, Wendy

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    2. Thanks for responding so quickly. The vines are at least 15 – 17 feet long, they completely cover a 7’ tall by 8’ wide arbor and have traveled a good 5-6 feet horizontally across the top to the arbor next to it. They are not quite as big as my cucuzzi (which are completely overwhelming me with fruit) but they are a close 2nd. If your memory servers you correctly and it is in fact about 4 months I should (hopefully) see flowers soon, I’ll keep you posted. Thanks again for getting back to me.
      Greg

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    3. Well, I just came in from the garden and I have about ½ dozen flowers and several dozen buds, so it looks like 4 months is how long it takes to see flowers. At least in my area…
      Greg

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