How to Grow LOOFA (Luffa) for Sponges | Late Bloomer | Episode 15

I’m Kaye, and I’m a late bloomer. (whistling theme music) Like many people, I used to think loofa sponges came from the ocean. But, loofa is a member of the cucurbit family. Last year, I was introduced to the plants growing at my friend Sheri’s in Tennessee and she gave me seeds to try. Today we’re going to look at the growing of loofa, and also we’re going to harvest and prepare loofa for sponges. So, stick around! (whoosh) 🎵 On my trip home last September, I first met Sheri at the farmers market selling her loofa sponges. She told me she grew loofa, and I had to drive out to her farm to see for myself. Sheri grows loofa on a large fence, and we set about looking for a ripe one. 🎵 It was easy to peel, and she shook the seeds into my hand. I told her I HAD to try growing loofa. She gave me 13 seeds, her lucky number. 🎵 I planted them on February 11th in trays of Diatomaceous Earth granules which worked great. In 12 days, I had four sprouts. By March 1st, they had their first set of true leaves. I had planted all 13 seeds in six cells. I put them in the window sill, and they took off. By the end of March, I had vines. They went into the ground in April. (song ends) I decided to grow loofa on this trellis, which was recently vacated after we took out a 30 year-old wisteria vine that had a trunk like that. (whoosh) Man: Alright let’s go! Pound! No! Pound first! (hammer pounds) It had pushed the wall of the garage 3 inches, so it was a major repair job. We had to dig this whole thing out, the entire planter was full of wisteria, uh, roots, and nothing else would have grown there. So, it had to go, unfortunately. It was gorgeous in February, but, you know, what are you going to do? So… I thought, this is a perfect place to grow loofa. Now, my friend Sharon Carson said, “Kaye, you only need one vine.” But, I thought, aesthetically, it would look better if I planted all ten of my vines, so that the whole trellis would be full of loofa. And, it turned out, that, it happened that way. 🎵 Although there were early blooms, I knew the loofa wouldn’t do well until they reached the sun. 🎵 After much deliberation about how to train the vines to go straight up, I settled on simply running rows of twine, and used clips. It was a race to the top! (song ends) The end of June, the potatoes I had planted at the base, were up, and the vines were reaching across the horizontal beams. I had several nice loofa. This is the stage when you can cook and eat them. Ha, ha. But, I didn’t. Eric: Leave it here. I had some help keeping the vines maintained because they are nine feet off the ground! 🎵 By now, I was amazed at these huge things hanging from my trellis. The vines produced an early crop of twenty loofa, mostly near where they made the turn to the sun. The dog days of summer began. (song ends) Mid-August, the vines were shriveling, leaves were yellowing, and loofa were drying out, and there was one worrisome dark spot on one loofa. However, there were more new green loofas growing at the end of the vines This is my first loofa… and it’s turning black on the bottom, so I’m just going to go ahead and peel it, and see what the story is. Yeah. This is not good. Ugh!! Shoot! Clearly that is rotting in there! Eww!! Here’s my first harvest of my loofa. And, here’s how you know they are ready. (sound of rattle) When you shake them, you can hear the seeds rattling inside. and if you… just peel the skin off, you see that… it looks just like a loofa. This one is perfect. I’m not sure how many perfect ones I’ll have. Hard to do this with one hand… Ha, ha, ha, ha. You can see the seeds are just ready to come right out of there. They are really pretty seeds, too. And, then, I thought, well that’s it… and I harvested all those. I didn’t have time to prepare them for sponges, uh, because of all my traveling this summer, but, I just put them in the house, and, um, whoops! They all look like this, sitting in my house. And they are all full of seeds, and the seeds are getting everywhere. These tops are just ready to come right off… when the… loofa dries, so,… (loofa bangs, seeds rattle) you can literally shake… and if you don’t like noise, you can just knock these into a plastic bag. (bang, bang, bang) That’s pretty much all of them. 🎵 (bubbling sound) 🎵 Okay, we’ll check on these in a couple of hours. So, since my friend, Zachary, enjoyed… shelling beans with me, I thought he could help me make fast work… of peeling these, uh, soaked loofas. Wow! Hey, this is black. Yeah, and then I’ll just cut that off. That’s not a problem. Here. They look like giant bananas. Oh, my God! Ha, ha, it’s just water. Okay! We did it! I think we did it in five minutes! Ha, ha, ha. Hey, let’s go wash our hands. Hey, give me five. Give me ten. Ha, ha, ha. All that five minutes of hard work deserved a homemade cookie. 🎵 Good! You said, “Good,” before you even tasted it. Ha, ha, ha, ha. All right! 🎵 Ummm!! Mmm!! That IS good! I gave all the sponges a good wash under the tap. And I laid them all out on the table to air dry. 🎵 For me, loofa was easy to grow. No major diseases, or pests… Knowing the perfect time to harvest, I think, must come with experience. Wait until they are dark brown on the vine, and they will be brown. Cut off any dark spots, and the rest is usable. When you get it just right, it’s a thing of beauty. When they are dry, (crunch, crunch, crunch) cut it in half. And it is that easy. And you are done. And be sure to compost the peelings. 🎵 (whoosh SFX) Sheri tells me that loofa is killed off by frost, so, if you are in a temperate zone like I’m in, your vines could keep growing. But, uh, I’m a little tired of it, so time will tell. But, as you can see, it’s still blooming! And a bee just flew past my face. So, I know the flowers are getting pollinated. Let’s see if we can find a baby growing. 🎵 (acoustic guitar, drum) Here’s a baby. If you enjoyed this episode, please give me a thumbs up, and share with a friend. I’m Kaye, I’m a late bloomer, thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time. Ha, ha. (jingle, whistle) Like many people I used to think… loofa came from the ocean… 🎵 It’s days like today you wish you had longer arms… uh, ha, ha, ha… So, if you’re in a temperate zone like I’m in… you’re vi….. (bee, whistle) (quack) (quack) 🎵

100 comments

  1. Guys, like you, i was so impressed i thought it was made out of that. But your actual loofah you buy for a few dollars is made out of it plastic. This kind of loofah is another type. Google it🤷🏻‍♀️

  2. You deserve more subscribers you have amazing content and out good work into this!! Definitely subscribed

  3. I grow both white and blue and red passion fruit. The vine growing up my house is beautifully. Iv also grown and seen these in Zambia. It’s such a crazy unique plant 🌱

  4. I have never once wondered where loofas came from or wanted to know how to prepare them in my life. However now im interested and a new subscriber

  5. We eat that as a vegetable in stews, only when they are young.
    Loofah are the mature ones. But you should only use this one time, and use a new one when you bathe

  6. my grandpa had several kinds of plants in his backyard when i was a kid and i observed that loofa came from an “upo” (that’s what we call that kind of cucumber) when it died but i only knew just 2 years ago that it’s called “loofa”

  7. You can eat the younger ones. Cook them into curry. We eat most of them and leave a few to mature and become loofahs.

  8. I love your videos!, they are full of good things to learn and also have very positive energy!

  9. We grow these every year. They're pretty popular in Japan to grow as "green curtains" in summer to get some extra shade. Other plants are also popular for this purpose.

  10. Great video. Though it is mentioned, i would like to add again, if you are still growing them then you can actually use the young ones to eat, just scrap the green outer skin then make a stir fry👍 though can be cooked in many other ways too. I hope you have tried eating it as well

  11. { /}
    (°_°)
    /><✓🍺
    `°°°°`
    Loofa used for sponge bath in ancient India till now. You can also deep-fry those yellow flower's.

  12. I stumbled upon Loofa at the Florida botanical gardens and was so surprised but I wasn't sure it was ACTUALLY a sponge! I'm glad your video was recommended to me because I couldn't believe it until you peeled one open! Your content is great and I love how honest and funny you are. I am definitely going to subscribe!

  13. Luffa in English patola in tagalog (Philippines)a very nutritious veggie and one of my favorite foods in the Philippines just try to eat and taste it once😍😍😋😋love it😍😍😍

  14. These are actually vegetables that grow in summers in india but after season crosses they start to develop rough scales inside which are left to dry and then used as loofah but when green and fresh are used as vegetables

  15. Loofah is so fun to grow. I think the plant grows least 2" 3" a night. My problem is when to harvest and peel. Wait until they're brown and crispy? Yellow? Soak with skin on or peel , deseed then soak? I do soak in Clorox water to make them pretty and almost white.

  16. What's happening? This landed in my feed while watching video on making soap (wasn't anticipating this rabbit hole, I can't stop), and now I see a video "tree to bar, how to make chocolate every step"? Well how can I ignore that!

  17. @https://youtu.be/GSockKvos4w plz check its recipe u asked for.. I read in previous chats that u wanted recipe to cook it. I m an Indian.. We have this regularly for lunch or dinner..

  18. Ohh dear it's a vegetable we eat this in India we call it turai and my Grandma grows this at home 😊😊😊

  19. Now, I've bought some loofahs that are real hard, even after soaking, and are a little too rough on my skin but I've bought others that were softer, even when dry, that are great. I used to give my cats the real hard ones as toys since they could wrestle with them using all 4 paws full of claws and they could bite the loofahs (I thought maybe their teeth got a little scrapped?). But what makes for the difference in roughness/softness in a loofah?

  20. Thats a vegetables I've eaten in my country.its soooo good for soup when still young fruit.it smells so good and taste good as well.

  21. I didn't know thats where loofahs were from, I thought they were from the sea too.

    You said tap instead of faucet(like most Americans. Tap is of course is correct but where did you pick up the word?

  22. In Mexico we used, a longtime ago indigenous use for wash and bath, the name is Zacate and today we continued this use, you can found it at the Real Markets or Mercados in México.

  23. Hello kay kittrell,
    Luffa acutangula or sponge gourd or dodka is a famous Indian vegetable. People in India let the vegetable dry to extract the seed for the next year and thus use the loofah. It is quiet famous in Indian villages.

    Thanks for sharing

  24. Your video has pushed me to try this! I live in Australia and I hope I can find seeds to grow them from. I also thought loofa's were from the ocean, thanks for broadening my horizons

  25. I thought that they HAD to rot, in order to get the cucumber parts off of the sponge portion. Shows how ignorant you can be.

  26. Interesting fact: the tender fruit of the loofah is edible! We've been using it in our dishes for ages. Doesn't really have a particular taste, but goes well with bitter stuff, to neutralize the taste, or with other veggies. Remember to harvest it really early when they're tender and hasn't developed the sponge like part.

  27. This is quite common in some parts of Spain,people grow their own sponges or sells them. When you have like 5-6 you cut them and are set for life😁

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