I’m 35 and in that time I’ve basically just killed plants. I couldn’t even keep a cactus alive. I had pretty much given up. In recent years the push for home grown anything has been more like a shove. We are all sick of heavy prices and afraid of chemicals. So…why not try a garden?
In the tiny town we live in…Jamestown…we used to have this cute little farmer’s market. It’ closed now but for two years this awesome little place had been host to a seed exchange. Basically you come with seeds or w/o…and get to choose some seeds for free! Super fun. We went to the event hoping to find some good stuff and we weren’t disappointed!
I was super excited to see they had loofah seeds! I love loofah sponges and soap with loofah in it but I had not realized it was something that was grown. I guess I never thought of it. Game on! I googled how exactly to make it work,haha. Seemed easy enough…vine plant…put outside after last frost. Ok…got it. Once the process starts…it’s fast. They grow like…well…vines 🙂
We started them inside,then moved them all outside and later into the position in which they would stay.
Once they started to vine out,we staked them upward until we could get or build some sort of lattice for them. The bottom of the swing was already a sort of lattice so they ended up taking over down there.
Seriously tho…they grow fast. I’ve had people ask what I did to make them grow so well. Just watered them…a lot…good soil…space…finally a lattice…but I think they liked the swing more…
Yea they pretty much just took over from there. Idk what I was thinking with that baby lattice haha. #learning
At this point it has also decided to vine up the side of the swing.
It does what it wants. Sassy loofah is SASSY. And this is about the time I notice that inside the swing part there s a loofah growing!! I had worried that bees wouldn’t come to the plant but they LOVE the yellow flowers so much! No issues at all.
I’m seriously starting to feel like Poison Ivy at this point. Some sort of crazy botanist with vine frands. The loofah will actually grow over an inch a day. It gets large quite fast. At this point here I’m wondering when I’m supposed to harvest it.
Supposedly leaving it till it’s skin starts to get loose is best thing. We will listen to the sage advice of other gardeners…those who came before…who didn’t kill cacti 🙂
So we wait…
Lookin good! All this pictures are of one loofah,the first one. I currently have about 7 growing out there. This guy is starting to yellow at this point….is the time almost right???
A few weeks later…
At this point it’s a lot of fun to sit in the swing. Hummingbirds LOVE the yellow loofah flowers that bloom constantly. I can sit in the swing,behind the screen and vines and watch them up close. I also gets frequent visits from dragonflies,butterflies,bats and a rabbit I’ve named Peter. I think Peter ate my acorn squash…twice BUT that is another story.
Ok we are finally yellow and skin feels like it’s loose!
I actually harvested another loofah first. It’s skin was saggy and starting to brown. Supposedly it was going to be easiest to get off the saggy skin…but it wasn’t. The yellow parts were much easier. That loofah sponge also ended up a little spotted. Based on this I decided to go ahead and harvest the perfect yellow specimen.
You can see my first experiment in the background there and the discoloration. I heard some people bleach theirs out. Idk that I’d go that far haha. But this guy turned out perfect! It’s so weird/awesome!
It was 90 some degrees today so I left them out on the porch to dry out! Afterwards I shook the seeds out and BOOM…my own home grown loofah sponges! Super excited to use it tonight!
I really do love growing stuff! Next adventure will be cutting the curved one up to make loofah soap out of it!