Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Harvesting Luffa (loofah) gourds to make into bath sponges + Pumpkin decor & carving

"After the frost killed the plant, I harvested the four luffas from the vines. I grew the Luffa plant in two large garden pots, and used a recycled drums for the vines to crawl on. Luffa gourds should be grown on a strong fence or trellis. They need a long growing season of 150 to 200 warm, frost free days" (gardensnet).

As you can see in the first picture, the luffa plants were part of the fall setting. There was a tiny gourd among two medium-sized gourds and one extra large luffa. You may have seen pictures of them in previous posts, but here are some photos of the luffa harvest.

You can eat this gourd when it is smaller, but I specifically grew the gourd to make into a bath sponge. Once the luffas stop growing, and after the first fall frost, harvest the luffas. At this point, let the gourd dry indoors for a couple of weeks, or until the outer skin becomes brown and brittle. 
Shake loose the seeds from the gourd and store them in a cool dry place. To clean the gourd and prepare for using as a sponge, most people recommend soaking the gourds in a solution of water and 10% bleach. Do not soak them for too long because the bleach will break down the fibers. Instead of bleach, you could soak them in lemon water with hydrogen peroxide; OR lay them out in the sun, which will naturally clean them. Dry them in the sun for 2-3 week before using. 

Using the pumpkins you see in the first photo (from the fall scene), James and I carved pumpkins last weekend. With the small pumpkin, I carved the letters "HP" to resemble the Harry Potter font. I wanted to continue with that theme since I had painted a sign "9 3/4". I also painted a Halloween/witchy/spooky scene on one of the large pumpkins.

Of course I saved the pumpkin seeds to grow next year, along with cushaw seeds. 

drying pumpkin & cushaw seeds

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