They grow very quickly and vine all over the place and each afternoon, I have to go pull their vines off of the okra plants or they would completely take them over. But that's the only downside I can think of. In the early mornings the yellow blooms of their flowers are beautiful and make a garden that is largely dry and dormant (other than peppers, okra, basil, peanuts, and sweet potatoes) look somewhat presentable during the last days of summer. Luffa are prolific producers. I have luffa gourds growing all over the place. Here are three nice sized ones that have grown from vines that took over a stack of tomato cages.
|A luffa gourd that feels like a football|
Benjamin took over at this point and he used his fingernail to puncture the outer skin of the gourd. Then he simply started tearing it away. It came off easily, exposing the actual sponge. It is still amazing to me that you can grow something in your garden that looks like it came from the ocean.
|Peeling off the outer skin|
Now once you peel the skin off a dry one, you can cut it in half and pour out the seeds. This one required a little drying so I set it outside in the sun on top of the air conditioner to allow it to dry. The next day I flipped it over to allow both sides to dry equally.
|Drying the luffa|
Then it was completely dry and we brought it inside and Benjamin cut it in half with a steak knife.
|Cutting the luffa in half|
Genesis 1:1 says, "Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them"; and it was so."
The luffa gourd growing in the garden was listening very closely to this command, because I've never seen a plant that grew more seeds! We kept shaking and shaking and shaking and the seeds just kept on falling out. It was really incredible, I tell you.
|Shaking the seeds out|
I'll save these seeds, but I think it may be overkill. If anyone needs any, I'd be glad to share!
|An abundance of luffa seeds|
Once all the seeds were removed, I poured a little water in a bucket and added a capful of bleach. I just wanted to clean up the luffa of any seed particles like you see in the photo above.
|Soaking the luffa sponges in a mild water/bleach solution|
Then I removed them from the bucket after a few hours and allowed them to dry.
|Ready to go take a bath!|
And that is it! I've given these to our kids in college and once ours are dry we'll put them in the shower. These can be used in place of a washrag to scrub or exfoliate your skin. Simply wet it, apply soap and scrub. You can use the luffa on the heels and soles of your feet, too. You should rinse the soap out of them when you are finished and allow them to dry. It is probably not a good idea to use a luffa every day since your skin needs a certain amount of oils, but once in a while removes dead skin and scrubs the grime off of you that you get sometimes when working in the garden or with the animals. When Saturday night rolls around and it is time for my weekly bath, I'm ready for a good scrubbing with a luffa. Just joking, of course.