Sponge Luffa Gourd Seeds
Sponge Luffa Gourd Seeds (130 days)
3 gram seed packet ~33 seeds
I had more fun growing luffa seeds as a kid and there is something about knowing I can grow my own bath sponges now. They are renewable, 100% organic and biodegradable. I don't need to buy harvested endangered sea sponges that have been bleached when I can grow my own sponges in my backyard and you can too!
"Luffa seed germination is often slow and sporadic. To obtain good plant stands, luffa gourds should be produced from transplants. Soak seed in warm water for 24 hours prior to seeding. Sow seeds, two to three per cell, in flats. Thin to one plant per cell after the first true leaves appear. Grow for four to six weeks in a greenhouse at about 65-70 oF. Luffa should be transplanted outdoors after all danger of frost is past.
Site Selection and Fertilization - Luffa gourds require a well-drained soil in a location where they will have full sun and good air circulation. Conduct a soil test prior to planting and follow lime and fertilizer recommendations for cucumbers. Two or three times during the growing season add 20-25 pounds nitrogen per acre as a side-dress or through the drip-irrigation system.
Planting and Trellising - To speed growth in the spring in cooler climates, luffa gourds should be grown on raised beds with black polyethylene mulch. Irrigation is required with drip-irrigation being the preferred method. Luffa sponge gourds benefit greatly from being grown on a trellis system. If luffa gourds contact the ground, fruit rot, discolored sponges, and misshaped gourds are usually the result. A vertical trellis, similar in design to ones used for trellised cucumbers and pole beans, is most commonly used. It must, however, be VERY STURDY!!. To support the weight of mature gourds, 4" x 4" posts set ten feet apart are recommended. The top horizontal support should be a heavy gauge wire or cable. Several other wires can be run horizontally between the top wire and the ground. To help train the vines to the trellis, string can be run between the top and bottom wires in a V-pattern, as for pole beans, or a nylon mesh can be used.
Space rows five or more feet apart to accommodate equipment. In-row spacing of 12-18 inches has produced the highest yields of marketable sponges. The plants need to be hand trained weekly until they reach the top wire. Try to keep all fruit off the ground and away from the trellis wires. Prune plants by removing the first four lateral shoots (from the soil line upwards). As for all cucurbits, luffa gourds need to be pollinated. Position one or two hives of bees per acre nearby when the plants are in full bloom to ensure adequate pollination." (Source: Jean Davis, North Carolina State University)