Grow your own bath sponge for a present or to use!
Known as a bath sponge produced from the mature fruit, luffas can also be eaten as a vegetable when eaten very young.
In some parts of the world, however, luffas are equally prized as a vegetable, when they are braised or cooked in curries.
This variety of luffa grows up to 40cm long and about 12cm in diameter when fully mature, but at this point they are inedible as they have the inner network of tough fibres which makes them good sponges. To be use in the kitchen, the fruit should be harvested when they are 20cm long when they have a soft puffy, texture.
The plants are heat lovers and must be grown in a tunnel or greenhouse, however they are vigorous growers.
To make a bath sponge the fruit must be allowed to mature fully on the plant, it is even advantageous to allow them to start "rotting" on the vine a little. After picking (the fruit stalks are strong and the fruit will not fall off) the fruit must be allowed to rot down. The quickest way is to keep them in a trough of water. Once the skin is so rotted it comes off easily, simply peel it off to reveal the fibrous sponge inside. Allow the sponge to dry, then shake the seeds out, and you have your luffa.
Sow: May to June and germinate at 27 degrees
Average of 8 seeds
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