...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How Loofah Can You Go?

Meet Kara.

Kara is a bee keeper and small-scale farmer (as farms go) in rural Southern Illinois. She also keeps horses, although I don't think she does so on such a large scale that you'd call her a rancher. Kara is helping me expand my gardening experience by introducing me to the growing of loofahs.

Hubby's response when I told him she was sending me loofah seeds in the mail was, "Aren't they some sort of sponge?"
Well, we use them like sponges, but no. They apparently are not a type of sponge.

Here's what Kara had to say about her loofah crop:
"I believe the Loofah sponge is part of the squash family. Maturity is 130 + days. They are rapidly growing and love to climb! I always plant them along a fence or beside a barn so they can climb. I always start them in doors, because of the time it takes for maturity. I water them generously and let them grow! I just let them hang on the vine, and pick them right before winter. Then I usually throw them in the barn and let them completely dry out. To harvest, you just peel them and shake out the seeds. Make sure you keep the seeds for future planting. I cut them to size. They are great pot scrubbers, bath sponges, etc.

To start, I put them in a damp paper towel in a warm place till they sprout, then transfer them to pots. When it is time to plant your garden, it is time to plant your loofahs."

Soon I'll be putting these seeds in the paper towels, and then move them on to little pots. In our backyard plot of ground, the loofah plants will hopefully take root along the back fence and over the top of a dog house that is merely decorative because our dog treats it with such disdain.

Kara also sent us a sample loofah. So far I've tried it in the bath, and for exfoliating it can't be beaten! At first dampening, it smelled a little like fresh hay, but quickly picked up the scent of my milk bath liquid soap. I haven't tried it as a pot scrubber yet, but that one loofah was big enough to cut in thirds, so another chunk is keeping the bottle brush company alongside the kitchen sink.

Happy memory of the day: Foot spa at home! Complete with fizzy foot soak, loofah foot scrub, and minty foot lotion--all the while chuckling at the thought that my little loofah was once hanging, soaking up the sun on my friend's back fence!

By the way, if you'd like me to send you some seeds, I'd be happy to pass a few along. Although I believe these seeds came from just one plant, I nevertheless think I have ample seeds to provide loofahs aplenty, maybe enough to exfoliate all of India!

Thanks again, Kara!

Happy scrubbing!

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