Loofah Gourds are a handy vegetable you can add to your dishes. Instead of purchasing Loofah Gourds from the local grocery store, you can think about growing them in the comfort of your home. Then you can add it to your foods and enjoy the delicious taste that the fibrous interior can deliver.
Before you grow Loofah Gourds, you need to keep in mind that they have a lengthy growing season. Therefore, the process of growing Loofah Gourds will not be so difficult. You can start growing Loofah Gourds from the seeds indoors. Then you can take the plants out and provide them without enough sunlight and moisture throughout the summer season. Continue to read and we will share more details with you on how to grow these plants.
Different types of Loofah Gourds
You can find two main types of Loofah Gourds plants. They include angled/ ridged Loofah Gourds and common or smooth Loofah Gourds. The ridged Loofah Gourds vegetables can grow up to a length of around 30 inches. However, the most common size that you can find would be 18 inches. These fruits have a deep green colored skin, and they are quite slender. Moreover, you can expect to find sharp ridges in these plants, which run down from top to bottom.
On the other hand, smooth Loofah Gourds vegetables come along with a smoother skin. You will not be able to find any ridges or sharpness on the surface. Also, you will also notice that these fruits grow up to a length of two feet and they are pretty wider than the other variant. You have the freedom to pick any of these varieties and proceed with growing Loofah Gourds at your home. No matter what you grow, you will end up with getting a rewarding experience.
Getting your Loofah Gourds seeds
As mentioned earlier, Loofah Gourds vegetables have a lengthy growing season. Therefore, we encourage you to get the seeds and start growing them indoors. There are fresh Loofah Gourds seeds available for purchase in the local seed stores. You can get them without spending a fortune. You need to make sure that the Loofah Gourds seeds you get are not older than two years. Otherwise, you will encounter difficulties at the time of germinating them.
How to grow Loofah Gourds
After getting Loofah Gourds seeds, you will need to sow them around six weeks before you plan to plant them in your outdoor garden. However, you should be careful not to start too early. That’s because the mature seedlings will not transplant as per how you expect.
Before you plant the seeds, you will need to soak them up in water for a period of 24 hours. We encourage you to use hot water in here. However, it is also possible for you to think about scarifying the seeds before you soak them. Then you can thin the coat of the seed, which will enhance the chances of germination. If you wish to do it, you can get a sandpaper and go through a couple of strokes.
You can plant your Loofah Gourds seeds in a pot that has a width of around four inches. This pot needs to be filled with a pre-moistened starting mix. You will have to plant the seeds at a depth of half an inch. However, you will also be able to proceed with planting Loofah Gourds in soil blocks without an issue.
Once you are done with planting, you should cover up the trays with a seeding dome or a plastic wrap. You will be doing this with the objective of enhancing humidity levels.
If you wish to increase the rate of germination, you will need to look for a heating mat. Then you can regulate the temperature at around 85 F, which will create an ideal environment for quick germination. By creating an appropriate environment, you can get your Loofah Gourds seeds to germinate in around a week. Otherwise, the average germination time could take up to two weeks.
How to take care of Loofah Gourds plants
Upon realizing that the seeds are germinated, you will need to remove the dome or the plastic cover. Then you can enhance the flow of air to the plants. In the meantime, you need to keep your eyes on the soil moisture levels as well. You should make sure that the soil is not wet, but lightly moist.
You may start feeding the plants with fertilizer when the seedlings develop their first leaves. This is where we encourage you to use an organic liquid fertilizer. You should be using it at the half-recommended rate. Moreover, you will need to fertilize just before you proceed with transplanting the seedlings.
How to transplant Loofah Gourds to your home garden
When the spring season comes, you can proceed with transplanting Loofah Gourds in your garden. This is where you will need to pay attention to hardening off. If you can harden off the seedlings, you can make sure that they get used to the outdoor environment for healthier growth.
It is important to keep in mind that Loofah Gourds plants are quite sensitive to colder temperatures. Therefore, you should never rush the idea of getting them to your garden too early. You may think about transplanting them around a week after the final frost date. To ensure peace of mind, you may think about placing a small hoop tunnel covered within a plastic, so that you can protect the plants from cold. This is a proven method available to keep the plants away from cold shock. Or else, you may also think about using a garden bed to cover up the plant.
How to locate the best place to plant Loofah Gourds
One of the most important things to note about Loofah Gourds plants is that they grow up to a length of around 30 feet. Therefore, you need to be extra careful at the time of selecting a location to plant them. You should also check and make sure that the site you select for planting Loofah Gourds delivers enough sunlight, which will encourage faster growth. You should also be able to maintain soil moisture levels without a struggle.
After selecting the ideal location, you can dig a hole with a depth of few inches and proceed with your transplant. Loofah Gourds plants grow as robust climbers. Therefore, you should be careful to provide adequate support. This is where we encourage you to use a tunnel, garden arch, trellis, or a fence to support the growth of the plants. Then you will be able to deliver excellent summer screening to the plant. You will also be able to seek the assistance of these plants to enhance your privacy.
How to grow Loofah Gourds in containers?
It is also possible for you to grow Loofah Gourds in containers. However, you should be careful to locate a container that is big enough to accommodate the plant. We encourage you to select a grow bag or a
pot that has a volume of around 20 gallons. It should also have a width of around 18 to 24 inches. You can fill it up with potting mix and compose in 2:1 ratio. You can also add organic fertilizer to support the growing medium.
Potted plants tend to grow big. Hence, you need to figure out an appropriate location to facilitate their growth. We encourage you to plant them near a fence or trellis. However, you will also be able to allow a vine trail near the pot to support their growth.
How to take care of Loofah Gourds plants
You should be extra careful to take good care of the Loofah Gourds plants along with time. This is where you need to feed them with fertilizer and maintain moisture levels regularly. You can make it a habit to check the soil moisture levels a couple of times a week. If you noticed that the soil is dry, you may think about watering it deeply.
The Loofah Gourds prefer to receive continuous moisture. However, you should also make sure that the plants don’t sit inside a saturated soil. You can add organic liquid fertilizer to the plants once in every two weeks. If you take good care of the plants, you will be able to see them delivering lots of flowers. This will also ensure that you will get bigger gourds at the end of the harvesting season.
How to harvest Loofah Gourds?
You can proceed with harvesting Loofah Gourds in two different instances. The very first instance is where you see tender young leaves. You can use these leaves in curries, stews, or stir fries. Or else, you can think about harvesting the mature gourds. It will be possible for you to use them as sponges.
After harvesting Loofah Gourds¸ you can proceed with eating them. These immature fruits are delicious and edible. You can expect them to provide a squash-like flavor. However, it is a good idea not to harvest the very first fruits that this plant will produce and consume them. That’s because the Loofah Gourds plants and their gourds will require a lengthy growing season. Hence, you should allow some time for the fruits to mature. You will be able to harvest the gourds that are about 4 to 6 inches in length. They will deliver the best level of tenderness that you can expect to receive as well.
Once you are done with harvesting baby gourds, you will need to cut the plants to the very last gourd. Then you will be able to snip or pinch off the new flowers that are developing in the plant as well. By doing this, you will be able to direct energy of your Loofah Gourds plants from maturing to the existing gourds.
Now you know how to grow and harvest Loofah Gourds. You will not just be able to add them to your meals. It is also possible for you to use the Loofah sponges in the shower or bath. There are numerous DIY tutorials on how you will be able to prepare DIY soap with Loofah Gourds.