October 4, 2016

A Treatise on the Growth of a Luffa

I picked some more luffas to eat but Margaret from Homegrown Adventures mentioned trying to make sponges from them. Which was kind of a revelation for me since I've only ever seen them eaten, although I've definitely read about them being used for sponges.
These are some sweet peppers, mostly Jimmy Nordello but the pointy shorter fruits are a mystery since they don't resemble anything that we should be growing. With the seedling mix-up we'll probably never know.
Female luffa flower before the blossom has opened.
Angled luffa on the left, smooth loofah on the right.
Long unopened female blossom with a cluster of unopened male blossoms above.
The angled luffas are much more prolific then the one smooth variety we're growing this year. This one is growing outside the fence along the alley.
The vines are very aggressive and climb very well.
More alley luffa.
I wonder what the neighbors think of the weird vegetable growing outside our fence.
There's 7 luffas growing outside the fence and 26 inside the fence that I can tell.
12 trellises have been taken over by their vines, only 3 trellises were planted originally in luffa and bitter melon but they've taken over the whole row. I've given up trying to control them and tearing them off the fence.

They didn't start flowering till the last week of August, I think that record breaking wet month really helped them along. But it's less then 2 months until our first frost, so it's kind of iffy whether or not they'll mature in time.


k said...

Wow, that's a luffa forest! I thought my cucumbers spread a lot. I got laugh out of imagining people in the alley, trying to figure out what the strange green vegetable is. I know I would be puzzled if I saw one hanging on someone's fence.

Margaret said...

Wow - that is a lot of luffas!! So do you think you will be giving sponges a go? Certainly looks like you have more than enough luffas to spare :) I'm wondering if there is a particular variety that is better for that or whether any luffa will do.

I just laughed when you said it was less then 2 months until your first frost - in our short growing season, that seems like a long time!

Dave @ HappyAcres said...

Those are some amazing luffa vines you have there! The last time I grew any (for the sponges) I seem to recall they vined a lot, but nothing like yours.

Sue Garrett said...

I was just the opposite and before reading blogs didn't know that you could eat them. Sounds like you have a seed mix up like we have with tomatoes. In our garden it is our passion flower vine thar tries to take over.

Phuong said...

Hi K,
One of the neighbors drove by while I was in the alley photographing luffa and vines. It really made me wonder what they were thinking. The fruit are actually pretty long, around 2 feet.

Phuong said...

Hi Margaret,
I'm definitely going to let the rest of the luffas develop into sponges. And it'll be a chance to collect some seeds even though they'll likely be hybrids since I'm growing a few varieties.

I agree, we really have a long growing season here. I've gardened in areas with shorter growing seasons and it always felt like you're racing against time, and then contending with the freak late frosts that go along with that. There's none of that pressure here which is really really nice.

Phuong said...

Hi Dave,
This is the best we've ever had our luffa do. Usually they only produce a handful of fruit, but who knows why they're doing so well this year. I think it has to be the weather because there's such a difference from previous years.

Phuong said...

Hi Sue,
I can see how easy it would be for seed mix-ups to occur, fruit get put in the wrong basket, baskets getting grouped together incorrectly, seeds flicking around, etc. And then there's the hybridization that can happen in the field. But it's crazy how the source company for your yellow tomato seeds won't admit to a mix-up.

Sue Garrett said...

It is especialoy as we would buy seeds,of the yellow variety if we knew what it was. The seed compant that we bought the seeds from don't stock anything like them so obviously they supply other companies too.

Bill said...

On the other hand I've heard of luffa sponges, but didn't know you could eat them!