Luffa Gourds

3 Nov

During Alphabe-Thursday’s Rainbow Summer School, I chose to write about my green luffa gourds.  Now, we’re up to G, and I’m revisiting those luffa gourds.  We had a killing frost, and it made it much easier to see where the gourds were in the garden.

I harvested them over the weekend.  There were quite a few nice big ones.  Some of them were rotting due to our excessively wet weather.

To see if they were big enough to have sufficient fiber in them to make good sponges I put them to the test of throwing them onto the cement patio.  This one broke apart–a sign it was not good.

Throwing this one just split the skin, so it was good.

I had to peel the skin off it.  That was not quite as easy as it sounds.  Those long stringy things are so tough they could be used to sew a pair of pants together.  My fingers were cold and wet and soggy.

Finally, I had to go get a specialized fancy tool to help peel the skin off.  Don’t laugh; it worked quite well.

When it is completely peeled, I washed it off and then set it on the chair to dry.  I’ll keep turning it every few days to make sure the moisture doesn’t just settle to one side.

This piece of sponge comes from one that was rotting, so I picked it about a month ago.  It still needs the seeds removed.  If I want it lighter in color, I can soak it in a weak bleach solution.

I can slice it for bath sponges.  I can cut it the long way and use inside a hot pad.

They are supposed to be some of the strongest natural sponges.  To keep it strong longer, it needs to thoroughly dry between uses.

I certainly think I’ll try growing them again.  Hopefully, it will be a bit drier, so they don’t rot.  I’ll have to play with them a lot more once they have dried.

Be sure to visit Jenny Matlock for more Alphabe-Thursday G posts.

32 Responses to “Luffa Gourds”

  1. lissa November 3, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

    I have no clue of such things to use as sponge but it looks like it works very well

    • Teresa November 3, 2010 at 8:15 pm #

      Mine aren’t quite ready to use, but I’m hopeful they will be good.

  2. JDaniel4' s Mom November 3, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

    I didn’t realize this is where luffas came from. Thanks for sharing.

    • Teresa November 3, 2010 at 8:16 pm #

      I was really surprised when I saw the seeds in a catalogue.

  3. Sue November 3, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    I really learned something new…gourds that make luffas! Very interesting ! Thanks for sharing and for visiting my letter G post today.

  4. Marlee November 3, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

    On a whim a few years ago, I grew some loofa gourds and would like to try it again. I didn’t know about the throwing to the ground test to see if they are sponge worthy.

  5. Sharon November 3, 2010 at 8:55 pm #

    I wonder if putting some kind of support screening, under the growing luffa would help with the rotting? Nice sponges! I love ’em! Of course, I have to buy mine 😉

    • Teresa November 3, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

      It’s just the wet weather. The ones at the top of the cattle panel were even rotting. Hmmm. If they turn out, I might have to send you one or two. Did you notice I have quite a few there.

  6. jackie November 3, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    So cool! I’ve never seen them grow before . I have used loofa sponges and they are really good . Neat post and thanks for the interesting demonstration .

  7. mmechat November 4, 2010 at 2:30 am #

    I only know zucchinis (courgettes) I never saw this kind of vegetable. Very interesting !

  8. Michelle | Goat Berries November 4, 2010 at 3:38 am #

    That’s awesome! Looking forward to following this as they . . . mature? 🙂

    • Teresa November 4, 2010 at 7:11 am #

      Now that they are picked, I just have to finish peeling them, wash them, let them dry and then get creative! Thanks for stopping by.

  9. tracy November 4, 2010 at 3:56 am #

    Wow they look brilliant I am sitting here thinking I would love to have one in my shower best look out for the seeds might grow in uk and then I have next years Christmas presents

    • Teresa November 4, 2010 at 7:12 am #

      They do require a long growing season as they originate in the warmer climates. I had to start mine inside in March.

  10. JoyceAnn November 4, 2010 at 6:21 am #

    I’ve got to plant my seeds next year , need to figure out a good place to plant them. You’ll have plenty of sponges , they did great.

    ~ Be Blessed ~

  11. Mary November 4, 2010 at 6:39 am #

    Wow, what an amazing gourd! I had no idea they functioned as sponges 🙂

  12. Amanda November 4, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    Very interesting. I don’t think our growing season would be long enough to grow these, but Jon’s mother would have a field day if we could grow them!

    • Teresa November 4, 2010 at 8:02 am #

      I started mine inside in March to extend the growing season. They are very slow to germinate and get started, so a gallon pot worked fine.

  13. Betty November 4, 2010 at 8:18 am #

    That was very interesting. When I think of gourds I think of the tan round ones. I never would have thought sponges came from gourds.

  14. Rocky Mountain Woman November 4, 2010 at 9:45 am #

    Wow, that was really interesting..

    Absolutely never knew about luffa gourds!

  15. Sue Anderson November 4, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    I had no idea this is how those sponges were made. Pretty neat! You’ve taught me something today!


  16. jo November 4, 2010 at 5:12 pm #

    I love your special tool! i really want to try this next summer … i don’t know if i get enough sun, but it would be a cool crop!!!

  17. Jenny Matlock November 4, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    Hey! I wanna come and smash some luffa gourds on the cement!

    You could probably sell time doing that for stress relief!

    What a neat post! I didn’t know that’s how you even tested them. I’d like to grow some, too, but I don’t think I can afford the specialized equipment required to take the skin off! ha!

    Thanks for a GGGGGreat link to Alphabe-Thursday’s letter “G”.

    This was a neat post.


    • Teresa November 4, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

      Thanks so much! This is really a fun meme.

  18. Judie November 4, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

    Do you ever sell any of those?? I really enjoyed this post. Good work!!

    • Teresa November 4, 2010 at 7:59 pm #

      This is the first time I’ve ever grown them, but I’d like to sell them as part of the farm market. Right now I’m playing and learning.

  19. Splendid Little Stars November 5, 2010 at 12:13 am #

    That was fascinating! This is the second usage of a spoon I’ve seen in Alphabe-Thursday. The other was used for peeling ginger.

    • Teresa November 5, 2010 at 7:14 am #

      They are the next Swiss army knife!

  20. Pondside November 6, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

    Now, that throwing tip is new to me – I’ll try it next year.

    • Teresa November 6, 2010 at 7:21 pm #

      It seems to work. I was surprised how big they had to be before they had enough fibrous stuff to make good sponges.


  1. Soapy Sponges « Eden Hills's Blog - February 16, 2011

    […] my green luffa gourds growing in the garden.  Then I talked about how to pick, peel and clean the luffa gourds in the fall.  I figured it was only proper to finish their story for Alphabe-Thursday’s […]

  2. Growing Gourds: How to Plant, Grow, and Harvest Gourds - Homesteading Alliance - February 27, 2018

    […] via Eden Hills […]

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