Use coupon code 'GRANDFINALE' for 15% discount on dahlia tuber orders of $75 and up. We ship tubers until July 15, 2024.
Use coupon code 'GRANDFINALE' for 15% discount on dahlia tuber orders of $75 and up. We ship tubers until July 15, 2024.
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Luffa or Sponge Gourd - (15 seeds)
Lily's Garden Store

Luffa or Sponge Gourd - (15 seeds)

Regular price $2.99 Sale price $3.99 Unit price per
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Sponge Gourd Luffa, known as sin gua (or sen qua) in Cantonese, the “angled sponge gourd” is a triple purpose vegetable. Its immature fruits are like a cross between cucumber and zucchini, and are widely used in Asian cuisine. If the fruits are left to mature to full size, they become intensely fibrous, and can be dried for use as luffa (loofah) sponges. Its large yellow flowers also make this plant highly ornamental. Trellis the vining plants so the fruits can hang down as they grow. This will encourage them to grow straight.

Luffa sponges are a great, zero-waste option for the bathroom; they make soap super bubbly, gently exfoliate your skin and you can just compost them when they get old. They do make excellent presents!

Approximately 15 seeds per packet.

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Trivia: The origin of gourds has been a subject of debate for decades. Archaelogical findings seem to show that Asia first domesticated the gourd for use as a container, though Africa and several island nations such as Polynesia and New Zealand also have an early history of using gourds as fishing floats, bottles, or musical instruments. Recent research shows that North America's gourds are nearly as old as those of Asia, which seems to suggest that early peoples who settled in the New World brought gourds with them.

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Growing Guide:

Growing Luffa requires patience and a long growing season. For zone 5 seeds are best started indoors under bright light 6-8 weeks before last frost. Harden off and transplant outside with minimal root disturbance after danger of frost had passed. Grow near a strong trellis or a structure that these 6m tall rambling strong growing vines can climb upon. Growing on the ground is also possible, however the vines tend to produce curved fruit. Seed can be direct sown in zones 7 and higher.

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Luffa acutangula

CULTURE: Sow seeds 2cm (1″) deep. Sow 3 seeds in each spot where you want a plant to grow, and thin to the strongest plant. Space plants 3-4' apart.

Fertile, well-drained soil with a pH of 5.8–6.8 is best. Plastic mulch and fabric row covers (AG-19 grade) can aide plant establishment and exclude insect pests during the seedling stage. Row covers should be removed when plants begin to flower. Poor fruit development may indicate insufficient pollination. For highest quality fruit, succession plantings every 2-3 weeks may be needed.

PLANT SPACING: Space plants 3-4' apart in rows 6' apart. Wider spacing may allow for easier harvesting.

DISEASES: Common cucurbit diseases include powdery mildew, downy mildew, bacterial wilt, and phytophthora. Avoid problems with adequate soil drainage, good air flow, insect pest control, and crop rotation. If necessary, check with your local Cooperative Extension Service agent for specific control options.

INSECT PESTS: Cucumber beetles, squash bugs, and vine borers are all common pests for cucurbits. Protect young plants with floating row cover. Squash bug eggs found on the undersides of leaves may be crushed by hand. For vine borers, cut out of vines and hill soil over the wound. Keep field borders mowed and remove plant refuse in the fall; spring plow to bury pupae. Pyrethrin sprays may offer some control.

HARVEST FRUIT: For some varieties, it is common for the first fruits to be malformed, wither, or blacken, which indicates poor pollination and is usually remedied as more male flowers appear. Harvest regularly, 2-3 times a week, once plants begin to produce. Cut or gently twist off fruits when they have reached the desired size. For zucchini, 6-8" long. Handle with care to avoid scratching fruits.

STORAGE: Keep fruit at 40-50°F (5-10°C), 95% relative humidity for up to 2 weeks. Use as soon as possible for best quality.