Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why loofahs?

I have mentioned before that we live on 900sq metres. With our home and pool taking up at least 1/3 rd of that, there is not much space left for garden. When we decided to turn our plot into a food producing garden we didn't think of vertical spaces initially. It was in the long term plan, but at first we went with traditional beds.

Our second area that we created had been set aside to more of a rambling space but the goal was to grow as much as we could up the walls on trellises. Still the space is why grow loofahs which are not really edible?

Growing loofahs was our choice for two reasons. The first being a frugal idea of finding a way to not use shop bought sponges for dishwashing and baths. The other was a green ideal of finding a way to not place an additional burden on the environment by using man made or sea sponge. Loofahs are ideal for this as they are a source of vegetable sponge which when spent can be placed on the compost heap and breakdown there.

Somethings that I have learnt in this first year of growing loofahs -

Plant them early! They have a long growing season and need warmth.
Do not overwater them! They are hardy plants and won't like wet feet.

We harvested the first 5 big ones today as we are having loads of rain and I don't want them to rot on the vine.

These are going to dry slowly on a sunny windowsill and hopefully we will have a stock of them to see us through a long period as there are about another 10 on the vine although much smaller.


Lois Evensen said...

I don't know of anyone growing loofahs in Cincinnati so I can only guess we are not in the right climate for them. Your reasons for growing them are excellent. I enjoy learning so much from other bloggers. :)


Anonymous said...

Well done Wendy. I tried to grow some this year but must have done something wrong as they never germinated. Would love to buy some of your seeds and pick your brain for germination advice :o)

Anonymous said...

I'm dying to some loofah seeds to plant. No one I ask seems to know where to get them from. Any idea's? I live in Hoedspruit in Limpopo province.