What an ugly looking thing....and what a versatile little plant " The Luffa"

I was always under the impression that my loofah came from the sea like other sponges and the like.....Well shows you what I know....on a recent visit to a village in Sakon Nakon, Northern Thailand I was given this brown , crispy thing which when shaken sounded like a babies rattle. I smiled and thanked them and thought what on earth is this?

A while later..language barriers permitting I surmissed it was one of those bitter gourds which are used in salads and soup and I was meant to plant the seeds and grow them... Wrong... on peeling it..inside was what I know as a " Loofah" to say I was amazed is an understatement.

Back home I decide to do some research....what I found truly amazed me :)

When grown, it doesn’t look like a loofah found in stores. It’s usually a foot long and has a yellow flower that grows with it. The plant produces male flowers first, so the first season does not produce fruit and like a cucumber, gourd or pumpkin, it’s edible,” .It is only edible when young, as when it matures, the fibers dry out, causing the insides to fall out. The hard shell left over can then be used as a sponge. While loofah can be found in stores, it can be fun to grow one. A  loofah needs about 100 to 180 days to mature and it grows best if the soil temperature is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

My next step was to plant these seeds and did these babies grow..to find out more visit me at https://blondieaka.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/do-you-know-where-loofahs-come-from/ I am sure you too will be amazed :)

 

Published by Carol Taylor