Wednesday, October 18, 2006

luffa at last

This is a luffa sponge. Luffa can be grown as a vegetable in your yard. They are frost tender and take a long time to mature. Even here in the sunny south I have to start my luffa seedlings indoors in late winter and move them outside when all chance of frost is over. A single plant started early enough can provide me with more than 40 sponges. Two years ago I grew a 120' vine that wrapped around 1/2 of my house. The neighbors made fun until they received their Christmas gifts- shower sponges for everyone. This year I didn't start my luffas indoors. I waited to late to get them in the ground so I was worry that I wasn't going to get any. Then the other morning I opened my bedroom window and to my surprise...

there was a luffa growing right outside. Once the fruit is pollinated it grows quickly. I can see a noticeable difference in size every few days. If the first frost will hold off for a few more weeks I'll have my shower sponge for 2007. This year however it looks like I'll have to find another neighborhood Christmas gift.


PeakEngineer said...

That's awesome! My wife and I thought for sure luffas were sea sponges. We're definitely going to add those to our garden.

nulinegvgv said...


That's great. This plant is well suited to your climate down in Florida. Keep in mind that they will climb and climb and climb... I don't mind them on my house (obviously) but just be aware that there's no stopping them once they get going. I mean the frost will kill them- they aren't invasive like kudzu, but if you want to harvest the fruit and dry them and clean them for use as sponges you'll have to let the vines mature. I think it's really cool to let them go crazy all summer. They also produce tons of seeds so let me know where to send some and I'll do it.

Also, you mentioned previously that there aren't deciduous trees in your area so you can't harvest leaves. What do people in your area mulch their gardens with?

PeakEngineer said...

I've been using grass clippings for mulch (it's about my only motivation for mowing the lawn), but my wife reminded me that there's a deciduous tree in our backyard! (we haven't lived in this house that long :) But there aren't very many such trees in general.

That would be great to get some seeds from you. I'll make sure that they aren't considered invasive here and then send you an e-mail. Thanks for the offer!