Luffah Consolidated Growth pictures 2006 Zone 5

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by Durgan, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    This is consolidated information about growing luffah from transplanting to sponge making. My own experience.

    http://xrl.us/mxa8 Trellis and transplanted into garden 25 May 2006

    Loofah plants were put outdoors today 25 May 2006. These three plants were started in February in the basemant, and put in my small greenhouse in late March. The seeds are germinated by placing three in a 3 inch pot sharp end down about the same depth as the seed pod and enclosing in a zip lock bag. The seeds germinate in about 14 days, then the two weaker plants are cut off at ground level. It takes about 180 days to produce a ripe product for sponge making in my zone 5.

    The trellis network is in full sun and about eight feet high about eight feet wide by sixteen feet long. The structure is from common materials purchased in a building supply, fence posts, concrete reinforcing wire, and plastic ties. The soil is compost, clay and wood chips, which is well drained.

    http://xrl.us/ni3k
    18 June 2006. Update on the Luffah plants. Four plants are thriving and there are some fruiting bodies.

    http://xrl.us/npro Luffah update.
    24 June 2006. The fruiting bodie's size can be judged by the mesh in the background, which is 6 sq. inches. The dead branch on the left of the third picture was caused by bird droppings on the junction with the main trunk. I suggest the chemical reaction caused damage.

    7 July 2006
    http://xrl.us/ose8
    Loofah Progress 7 July 2006. One vine was lost for some unknown reason, but about four are doing well. One fruiting body is about 15 inches in length, and there are others forming.

    http://xrl.us/paah
    21 July 2006. The luffah plants are coming into their own. It rained yesterday, and all plants are now thriving.

    http://xrl.us/pt4d
    30 July 2006. Luffah are growing well.

    http://xrl.us/q438
    23 August 2006. Pictures of making my first Luffah sponge. One fruit was ripe so I made a sponge. Neena, my Pomeranian dog, was very interested in the proceedings. I got a total of 14 sponges, some fruit didnt dry, since we had a very wet fall season.

    The seeds of 2006 were planted in January 2007 anad I now have four plants growing well. Ths seeds take about 14 days to germinate, planted with sharp end into the soil. I planted three to a pot and had 100% germination this year. The fruit takes about 180 days to mature. I grow them for the lush vegetation and they make a great conversation piece.
    Durgan.
     
  2. Kada

    Kada Active Member 10 Years

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    wow very cool! i did not think you could get such a decent sized fruit in that type of weather!!! takes a while but that is nice nonetheless. you got 14 from 4 plants? that is not bad at all! too bad they didn't all dry, they can go moldy after time.

    you can also eat the green parts. new growth is VERY tasty when fried. people here eat it all the time, one of my favourites. i to use the sponges for dishes and such, but i don't much like it for washing my body (ouch).

    zone 5, i am impressed.
     
  3. Anne58

    Anne58 Active Member

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    Gosh! I'll have to read up on these some more. I usually like to try something different each year and if our climate is right this would be a neat plant to try out.

    Anne

    PS got out in the garden today - things are really starting to grow now! Got all the old slug chewed leaves off my collards and they are looking much more appetizing now:o)
     
  4. Carol Ja

    Carol Ja Active Member 10 Years

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    Were you drying on the vine, or do you have a dry storage area you were doing it in?
     
  5. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    I found they have to completely dry on the vine. This year (2006) it rained starting in September, so many fruits didn't ripen. The slighlty unripe fruits were taken indoors and they simply rotted.

    This year 2007 I now have four plants fairly well advanced so maybe I will get more ripening. The vegetation is rather impressive, so I grow them for the appearance, also for the sponges, which are of excellent quality. Theye cannot be put ouside until it warms up. They cannot tolerate any frost period.

    Durgan.
     
  6. Megami

    Megami Active Member 10 Years

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    I'm attempting to grow luffah this year... I have 3 plants started in my basement that are now 2 weeks old. I hope I will get sponges from them!
     
  7. Kada

    Kada Active Member 10 Years

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    good stuff! for the record its Luffa i believe.
     
  8. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    aka. Luffa, Luffah, Loofa, Loofah, Sze Qwa, Cee Gwa, Sponge Gourd, Dishcloth Gourd.

    Luffa is a fast growing, warm climate member of the Cucurbit family that is native to India, and is also known under a wide variety of other names including Sponge Gourd, Dishcloth Gourd, Sze Qwa, Cee Gwa and others.

    Luffa is grown commercially in China, Taiwan, Central America, Korea, Vietnam and Japan, and also still grows wild in India today. Luffa is used not only for natural sponge production, but also food production. Luffa is the only known plant that may be used to produce natural sponges which have been found to have a positive impact on cleansing human skin and may also be used to produce an organic soap.

    When Luffa is harvested when young at a length of 4 to 6 inches long and yield a sweet, tasty vegetable that may be prepared similiar to okra or zucchini. The mature seeds, young flowers and young foilage of the Luffa are also edible. The Luffa plant itself is similiar to a cucumber and produces sprawling vines up to 15 to 20 feet in length. Luffa can also be sliced and utilized raw like a cucumber. Matures in about 110 days to 180 depending upon weather conditions.

    Durgan.
     
  9. Megami

    Megami Active Member 10 Years

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    I am so calling it "Dishcloth Gourd" from now on.

    Meighan
     
  10. Kada

    Kada Active Member 10 Years

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    ahh gotcha :) i still can't believe you go tit to grow in zone 5! you use a greenhouse or jsut "by the window" type thing while they were indoors?
     
  11. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    Zoine 5. I have the plants in the window, then put them in the greenhouse in March. This is my third year. Due to slow germinating the last two years, I started them in November 2006, so now I have four rather large plants, which I have to handle until June. I suspect the seeds I got from the internet were not mature the last two years, so my poor germination was abnormal.

    Good seeds and the right conditions, which are fairly typical, the seeds should germinate in 14 days. I put three seeds in a four inch pot and place in a zip lock bag and forget them until I see sprouts. Then I cut of two and let the one remaining grow.

    Durgan.
     

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