vine type plant. Luffa is classified as a warm-season crop with a growing
season from 100 to 180 days. Outdoor planting should occur when danger
of frost has passed, and soil and air temperatures have warmed. Gourd
seeds may rot before germinating if planted in cold, wet soils.
seeds require special handling to ensure uniform germination. Seeds
should be scarified (make the seed coat more permeable to air and water)
by roughening the side of the seeds with an emery board or sandpaper
and then soaking in room temperature water for 24 hours prior to seeding
into pots or the garden.
seeds or transplants singly 2 feet apart in the row, with rows 5 feet
apart; or in hills (thinned to 2 plants), 4 to 5 feet apart with rows
7 feet apart. Gourds are vigorous growers and will readily adapt to
a trellis, fence, or arbor for support. For luffa plants, a very sturdy
support is essential to keep all developing fruit off the ground. Fruit
will form areas of discoloration if allowed to come in contact with
gourds have specific harvesting and processing techniques to produce
high quality sponges. Harvest when the outer shell is dry, the gourd
is light in weight and the seeds rattle inside. Remove the stem end
of the gourd and shake out the seeds from the center cavity. Soak the
luffa gourds in warm water until the outer skin softens to the point
where it can be easily removed. Then soak the fibrous sponge in a solution
of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water to obtain the desirable creamy-white
appearance. Rinse in clear water and allow to dry before using.