Making a Luffa Sponge

by Daisy on 12/12/2011

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This year was a first for many things in the garden.  Probably the most dramatic new addition was the luffa gourds.

They got off to a bad start.  Soon after sprouting, they disappeared entirely one night.  Chipmunks?  Alien abduction?

So I planted more.  They soon sprouted and whatever got them the first time decided to give them a pass.  And they grew and grew, nearly taking over an entire side of the house.

But then, I despaired they would produce luffas.  They finally bloomed, and bloomed great, but I couldn’t find any fruit.  The bumblebees had fits over the blossoms, and I was happy for them, but where were my luffas?

Then one day I saw them.  Tiny luffas, but getting bigger every day.  Would they have time to get big enough before it got too cold?

Yes!  Nine big ol’ luffa gourds, and a couple of runts.  Then came more waiting, waiting for them to begin to yellow–the sign they were ready to peel and begin the conversion into “sponges.”

Luffas are a real patience-tester.  It’s December, and most of my luffas are still lovely green specimens.  A few, however, have turned color and were ready for their transformation.

I dug in and started to peel.  The more brown the skin, the easier it was to peel.  The still-green comes off, just not without a fight.

It looked a bit like a very odd ear of corn at one point.

Once all the skin was off, I rinsed the luffa under a sprayer until the water ran more or less clear, and set it in a sunny window to dry.

The seeds came out easier once the gourd was dry, although some seeds came out while it is being washed.  The bag of seeds pictured here is from ONE gourd, about a cupful.  Looks like I will have enough for my very own luffa revolution.

Stay tuned:  I’ll be making luffa soap soon!



{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharleen February 23, 2015 at 4:53 pm

I grew luffas, fun and pretty plant. I let mine turn completely on the vine. They will turn almost black and be very light in weight. The moisture in the plant actually gets sucked back up into the plant for use on other gourds on the vine. Found the peeling to be a lot of work. Perhaps if I picked them not so “done” they would peel easier. I see parts of yours were still green. Mine were completely dry inside and seeds fell out with a little shake.

Daisy February 26, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Sharleen–That would have been easier. It was tough getting the skin off so early. Next time.

Anna May 2, 2015 at 10:47 am

Where do I find the seeds/plants? Will they be happy in a sunroom?

Daisy May 2, 2015 at 7:05 pm

Anna–Try Horizon Herbs or Fedco Seeds. Luffa is a huge vine that will climb from the ground up the side of my house and onto my roof. Probably would take over your sunroom and head down the hall to the living room!

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