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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Luffa/ Loofah/ Loofa/ Luffah... I did Sow..How I wonder How You Grow.

Luffa, luffah, loofa and loofah is a plant with many names. It is a climbing vine related to gourds and cucumbers, and sometimes called the “dishrag vine,” a reference to the sponge-like qualities of the dried fruit. It is also referred to as Chinese Okra.
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(the above photos are taken of a Luffa that I purchased at the store)

Six species are in the Luffa genus, and they are widely cultivated for food and sponge uses. The loofah is the only plant source of sponge, and it has been used in bathhouses and kitchens for centuries. When I first saw this plant on a friend's blog, I was instantly enticed to attempt to grow them myself.
I got my hot little hands on the seeds from Trailrider...bless her heart. They are doing amazing for me so far and I am so excited to see the fruits grow...010 (2)

I am also a little intimidated by much of the information I have collected on this plant. I fear I may not have enough room to grow them!
My plan is this.... 200px-Luffa_aegyptica
I have a couple of HUGE pots that I purchased a year or two back when I was attempting to grow an enormous pumpkin for a friend. These pots are literally large enough to hold me! I will transplant my baby(s) to the pots after the threat of last frost has past.
I know that the Luffa needs to have a warm...very warm and sunny climate. I will place the pot that I settle on in front of the greenhouse...It can use the greenhouse warmth, and the bit of shelter that it will offer from winds etc. It needs to have support for the vines to grow up on...I will "create" something...no worries there guys...haha...you know me!...
Luffa do not like to be waterlogged...but will suffer greatly if they are allowed to dry out as seedlings.
Basically...armed with my limited knowledge…my plan is to wing it! I'll keep you guys up to date as to how well Luffa will grow in Alberta Canada....zone 3! I have no one to advise me in this area...as this plant is not one that I have ever heard of -ever!!! So...my stubborn self is on her own! I plan to keep you posted on any new information…and when the time comes…(if the time comes) we will discuss how to know when luffa is ready to be harvested…and what to do when it’s time.
I'm open to any advice and tips you have for me... really....PLEASE? {8-)



19 comments:

trash talk said...

All I know about a loofah is that it feels good when I scrub my back with one. I'll check with the Texas A&M Horticulture dept. and see if they have any advice.
Debbie

africanaussie said...

I am amazed to see you growing luffa in Canada! I grow it here in tropical Australia. (through the wet season) This is the first time I have grown it. I have harvested a dozen and letting them dry out before peeling them. Try a few tiny ones sauteed, they are delicious. Good luck - I will be monitoring your progress.

Susie's country cottage said...

They are strange things loofas! I'm sure a lot of people don't realise that they were once a living plant! I have never actually seen one growing so thanks for the photo and I hope you have success with yours.
Susie X

La Petite Gallery said...

Hi Tootsie,, I am amazed at what you attempt. I have a 6 yr old alvacado tree I planted in a pot. It's green =zip I have an 8 yr. old wisteria infact 2 that never bloomed. Sooo
ROOFAS plants a LOOFAS
ends up a Goofas , that's if I did it. You are just a lucky green thumb Gal."Good luck"

yvonne

Ima Weed said...

Go to americangourdsociety.org for information on gourds. I have not grown luffa but have grown many other varieties and will tell you they do need and will claim lots of space. I am looking forward to reading your adventures with luffa.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

I can't wait to see what this will look like. I knew they were a plant, but it looks like a cucumber!

Eileen

Andrea said...

Hi Tootsie, i am so amused by you and others' comments. Luffa is a tropical crop, we grow them here for vegetable and for the loofah you use in your bathrooms. We are exporting it to your countries, hehe. I thought that picture of the fruit is already yours! It needs wide trellishes to climb on, either vertical or horizontal. The last is prefered as you can enter it and look up to see the hanging fruits. Just let them dry on the vine, brownish color for the bath luffah, but very soft and young for vegetable. Good luck!

The Japanese Redneck said...

Tootsie, I bet you can grow plants on asphalt. You'll do great!

Dirt Princess said...

Very interesting! I can't wait to watch it grow!!! I think it will do just fine for you!

Helen said...

The only thing I can say with certainty regarding the mighty loofah is that it feels good with I exfoliate with it ...... Have a great weekend!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

I thought the vines got huge. I saw a newspaper article where this man grew them in front of his front porch. The porch was high from the ground and had rails. The vines were growing around the rails up the porch supports and across his porch roof.It would probably take over your fence or playhouse Tootsie. LOL! Good luck with it and we will be watching to see how big they get. ;-)

Betty said...

I can offer you no advice but sure do look forward to seeing how you do with this.

artis1111 said...

I had no idea you could eat them too!!!!Can't wait to see if you are going to eat it too. hehe LOL Kathy

Lori E said...

It never occurred to me that anyone ate loofah. I'll bet it really cleans out the old intestines. Lol.

africanaussie said...

I guess I wasnt that clear that you need to eat the loofah when they are very small - about 6 inches long. They look (and taste)just like a zuchini inside when they are that small. You can see a photo here: http://africanaussie.blogspot.com/2010/02/growing-to-eat-through-seasons.html
I laughed when I read about Lori thinking it would clean out the intestines, so just had to clear that up!

linda may said...

G'Day Tootsie, I came for friday fertilizer, but I forgot it's friday here, and thursday at your house so I am early, what a change for me. Lol.
You are a garden adventurer growing tropial plants in your part of the world. Fasinating little things plants aren't they.

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

Good my girl...now I always thought these things came from the ocean ha ha!! see what I know...hey it does feel good to shower with them..never knew it was above the sea plant ha ha!! Hope your having a GREAT day my sweet friend...Hugs and smiles to you...Gl♥ria

trailrider731 said...

hayhay Tootsie,

great going on the loofa, lufa,loufa, LOL my spelling isn't the best! nor typing!
Looks like the critter is moving right along, its still a bit cool here in Mississippi for mine to come up, especially since I let them do their own thing the last couple years. I just know they make great shade during the summer and LOTS AND LOTS of loofah babies!!
Can't wait to see how they do at Greenhouse Canada!

seeya,
LM
the best is yet to come!

trailrider731 said...

hayhay Tootsie, Its been a while, I've been going 90 to nothing outdoors, LOL, not sure what I have accomplished growing wise, But I do have tomatoes planted, PInapple Guava, bird house gourds to shade the dog kennel.

Hows the Loofa treating YOU? Has it taken over, or did you finally kick it out when it did? LOL,,, I'm still working on rooting some Jacobs ladder. MY elephant ears were slow to come up this year, but have finally poked out of the ground.

I can't seem to get into your blog from the office these days, Something on your home page I suppose triggers the block. SO here i am , trying to find my way around your blog.

seeya,
LM
the best is yet to come, PLEASE excuse the typos and Spelling!