Crop Rotation Group
Cucurbits (Squash family) ●
Well-drained soil enriched with plenty of compost.
Drench with a liquid organic fertiliser when plants begin to bloom heavily in summer.
Single Plants: 60cm (1' 11") each way (minimum)
Rows: 50cm (1' 7") with 90cm (2' 11") row gap (minimum)
Sow and Plant
Soak seeds in water for 24 hours before starting them indoors in a warm place. Seeds germinate in 5 to 7 days, and seedlings require bright supplemental light. In warm climates, set plants out when they are 3 to 4 weeks old. In colder climates, keep plants indoors or in a greenhouse until cool weather passes, and set them out in late spring when the soil is warm.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.
Luffa’s leafy vines and large yellow flowers make it a beautiful vine to grow as a summer sunscreen near outdoor living areas; luffa is also a good choice to grow on an overhead arbour. A trellis is required to support the vines and fruit.
Green fruits less than 7 inches long can be used in the kitchen as you would cucumbers or summer squash. As fruits mature, they become inedible and fibrous. To harvest luffas as sponges, leave them on the vine as long as possible, until they turn brown and dry, and the seeds rattle when the gourd is shaken. Store in a dry place. To process harvested luffas into sponges, soak the dried gourds in warm water for 15 minutes, then peel off the skins. Remove the seeds and excess pulp by squeezing the sponges in warm, slightly soapy water.
Luffas can be bothered by the same insects and diseases that affect cucumbers and squash, but the vigorous plants usually outgrow moderate damage.
Planting and Harvesting Calendar
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