Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Luffa Gourds

I planted Luffa Gourds, also known as Dishrag Gourds, in late Spring. Luffa is the gourd also used as a body scrubber in the bath or shower. When dried, the inside of the gourd turns to a tan fibrous material. When small, some people eat them like a squash... to which they're related.

The flowers are a pretty yellow, with male and female flowers as in all curcubits.

Luffa Flowers

The vines can be quite long and it takes a lot of water to keep them healthy looking. Our rain kind of stopped in July. We've had little amounts of rain the last 6 weeks or so, but not a lot, so the Luffa plants are suffering. I water them every day, but they need a good soaking from some rain.  I am getting fruit, though, just not as much as I would get if we had more rain this summer.

Baby Luffa Gourd. (Gee... I could have removed the dead leaf behind it.) This guy is about 3 inches long right now. You can see where the flower was on the open end.
Here's a much larger fruit. You can see how big the leaves are

 and why they need so much water.

This is a closer pic of the Luffa. Like all gourds, it needs to dry on the vine so it does not rot.

Here's what the dried fruit looks like before it's peeled. When you shake it you can hear the seeds rattle inside. There are lots of seeds, like a cucumber would have if it dried like this.

Dried Luffa with skin still on
To peel the Luffa, I just soak the dried fruit in water for a few minutes, and the skin comes right off. To remove the seeds, cut an end off and pour the seeds out.

Luffa are fun to grow and do very well in warm weather. As I mentioned, they do need quite a bit of water, like any vine.

Until next time, enjoy your gardens!

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