I’m growing a luffa!

luffa seedlingFor our Change the World Wednesday challenge this week, Reduce Footprints wants us to bring our green thumbs out to play and plant something!

Growing things is therapeutic, can save us money, reduce food miles, reduce food waste and can help us eat more healthily.

This year we’ve downshifting the garden. It’s a decision I did not reach lightly, but I realised my limitations. We have a large garden with six 10ftx10ft beds that we grew things in. Trouble is, more often than not, we grew weeds.

It was staying at a friends house during the summer last year that inspired me to make the change from vegetable beds to grass. She lives in a one bedroomed bungalow with a postage stamp sized garden, yet her garden was flourishing and producing heaps of food.

I had a lightbulb moment which was it was better to take care of a small space well, than to struggle with all this space I could not maintain.

So now I have ONE vegetable growing bed, two herb and roses bed that are already established, my bee garden, some pots and I’ve thrown grass seed everywhere else. I’m looking out as I type onto a fuzzy, green haze as the grass sets seed and sprouts into tiny shoots.

I am growing something rather exciting, however. As well as the usual potatoes, tomatoes, beetroot, courgettes, herbs, salads and beans I’m growing a luffa! (the same as loofah I believe).

In a bid to reduce waste and packaging, if my harvest is successful I will no longer need to buy cleaning sponges from manmade fibres wrapped in non recyclable plastics; I’ll be able to pick a fresh luffa from my vine!

Luffas are a member of the curcubit family and are indeed the skeleton of an edible vegetable which resembles a cucumber.

I’m warned by this fabulous “Growing luffa” website that it requires a LOT of patience (alas not my forte) and that germination can take weeks. Well I’m proud to say that after just 2 weeks of nothing happening, I noticed a bump in the soil on my luffa pot. A few days later the sprout started to emerge and by 2 1/2 weeks this darling shoot was visible, still wearing her hat of soil.

The other pot is yet to show signs of life, but now that I know it can take a long time I shall continue to water and talk to it 😉 They are fussy little plants apparently; if it’s too cold, the temperature suddenly drops or you water them too much you’ll have a casualty on your hands. But I’m willing to give this a go to see how I get on!

What about you – have you ever grown anything ‘weird’ or do you fancy joining me and growing your own luffa?


  1. Richard @ Eco Living Advice on April 14, 2010 at 11:13 am

    I grew a luffa many years ago. A really beautiful climber – just be prepared for it to need plenty of space as the weather warms up!

    I’m always trying to grow “unusual” stuff, generally not for any practical purpose but more for pleasure.

    I love to grow different Passiflora, a banana plant here and there and at the moment I’m waiting for some Pelican flower to come up, but they can take 3+ months to germinate so you have to be unbelievably patient (and remember to keep it moist all that time!).

  2. Small Footprints on April 20, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    Wow … I’ve heard about these but have never actually seen them growing. I hope you’ll be posting pictures as your little sponges develop. What Fun!

  3. Mrs Green on April 24, 2010 at 6:44 am

    @Richard @ Eco Living Advice: Great to hear from someone who has tried this. I’ll bear in mind the space issue – thank you! Wow, 3 months; I would probably forget to water it … Good luck with that .

    @Small Footprints: I hope so too! It doesn’t seem to have grown much since it popped out of the soil, but it’s still alive, so that’s cause to celebrate!