Start Your Luffa Seeds
This is the time of year to start your luffa seeds indoors, especially if you live in a cooler climate with a short growing season. Luffa are easy to grow and in the gourd and cucumber family, but they do like it warm. I am still having cool nights here in Oregon and our growing season outdoors really begins in May. It is important to know your growing zone and last and first frost dates. You can do that with a simple google search. I am a zone 8A and I can grow May 5 to October 5 -- just enough time to produce a Luffa sponge gourd! Click here to find your first and last frost dates.
Last year my book "Beautiful Luffa" came out at the Mother Earth News Fair in Belton, Texas and that was an exciting day! If you are interesting in growing luffa or just want to read up on these useful plants -- this is the book for you as Luffa sponge gourds have been used for centuries as a sustainable product. Oh and as a side note -- The fair is coming back to Belton, TX - October 9-10. Click here for details.
Here is my easy method for starting your seeds (this method works well for any large, hard shelled seed).
Starting Luffa Seeds
Clip your seeds -- This is not a necessary step but I feel it really helps the seeds absorb more moisture and sprout earlier. I take a small nail clipper and "nip" the larger rounded end of each seed. Some people also rub their seeds on a piece of sandpaper.
Soak your seeds -- I put my seeds in a small dish and let sit overnight. Soaking really helps soften the outer shell.
Wrap your seeds -- I place my soaked seeds on a piece of wet paper towel and then fold it up and place inside a plastic bag. I put it in a warm spot, like a window sill and in about a week my seeds have sprouted. I like doing this as I then know that my seeds have germinated or sprouted. Luffa seeds can take a while to sprout in the ground and I used get impatient and dig them up which is really not something you should do.
Plant your seeds -- You can now directly plant your seeds in your garden or in starter pots. Because I start mine indoors I use pots that I can plant like peat ones or ones I make from newspaper.
That is it! Super easy and fun and the seeds are large enough they are perfect for Children to plant also. Now with a lot of sunshine, water, a place to climb and some pollinators you should have useable sponges in about 90 days.
Happy Growing! For more Luffa ideas check out "Beautiful Luffa" available here, at the Mother Earth News Bookstore, and on amazon.