Growing luffa (sponge gourd) plants requires a certain amount of patience. It s not a typical garden plant. It grows for a longer time than most gourds. Sometimes the seeds can be slow to germinate. Luffa is a hot weather plant and growth slows in cool weather. The flowers appear over an extended period of time blooming sequentially as the vine progresses.
The vines can grow 30 feet(10 m) long over the course of a growing season. Once the fruits form it may take a long time to fully develop fibre and dry for harvest. Then the work of picking, peeling, and cleaning happens late in the year. Luffa requires about 150 to 200 or more warm frost free days, depending on the location and variety grown.
Common name: luffa
Height: 5 to 6 feet
Difficulty level: Easy
Planting & Care
It needs lots of sun, warmth, water, good root nutrients, and a large strong trellis. The vines will grow on the ground on a well drained weed-free flat surface but tend to produce curved loofahs. Luffa can also be grown in containers around 5 gallon size. Containers must have good drainage and can t be moved once the vines attach tendrils to other objects.
A small pot starter trellis can be used in the container until it is permanently located. The ideal soil pH is neutral to slightly alkaline. Some lime might be needed for acid soils.
Sunlight: Part to full sun
Soil: When preparing a site for planting ridge gourd seeds, amend the soil with organic matter, such compost or composted manure. You can spread a 2-inch layer of organic matter on the site and work it the soil as a depth of 6 to 8 inches. A soil pH of 6.5 to 7.0, or neutral to slightly alkaline soil, is used for growing ridge gourds, but do not add lime unless a soil test determines a low pH.
Water: Keep plants moist, but not saturated.
Temprature: It grows best in air temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees F.
Fertilizer: It needs a fertilizer high in phosphorous and potassium than nitrogen. Bottle gourds need nitrogen to grow vigorously, but excess nitrogen will encourage more leaves instead of fruit. A NPK fertilizer with ratio of 6:10:10 or 4:8:5 can be used. Add about 20 g in the soil for each plant before planting.
Feed every 2 weeks with a liquid fertilizer or comfrey tea fertilizer.
Harvesting: This can be the most enjoying part of growing gourds. At Foothills Farm, we normally wait until after frost and the gourd vines have died. After this, it is very easy to find and harvest the gourds. If you want, you check the gourd patch before frost and see if any gourds have already started to dry on the vine. It is okay to harvest these before frost.
- Caring for luffa is very similar to caring for cucumbers or melons.
- Keep plants moist, but not saturated, and provide sturdy support for best results as part of your luffa plant care.
- Once the plants begin to grow, you can remove all the first flowers, any male flowers and the first four lateral branches.
- This will result in stronger fruit.
- Remove luffa fruit from the vine before the first frost.
- Follow instructions for cleaning and preparing the fruit, depending on how it will be used.
Tuesday, 17 March 2020
Saturday, 29 February 2020
Tuesday, 25 February 2020
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