My 2020 garden experiment was Luffa! This was my first year ever planting luffa. It didn’t start off so great, but ended in a roaring success.
I’m not one of those who plant 85 seeds, wait to see which ones come up, and pull out all the seedlings that don’t look so great. I’m more like, I have a fence big enough for three vines, so I plant three seeds. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
So, I have a 6-foot long cattle fence standing in one of my raised beds and thought it would be perfect for three luffa vines. I planted one seed on each end and one in the middle.
Only two of the seeds germinated and within a month, one of the plants failed. So, my great 2020 garden experiment ended up being one lone luffa vine.
HOLY COW!! Do you know how many luffas you get off one luffa vine?? A LOT!!
I picked two that were turning brownish in September. I picked another dozen the day before a light frost in October. I picked another six or eight the day before a hard freeze in November. That freeze damaged the leaves of the plant, though there were another half dozen small luffa out there. It couldn’t take that freeze, so the whole plant was pulled after a couple days. Luffa experiment was officially over.
When you peel the skin off a luffa and shake out the seeds, you get about 40-60 seeds per plant. Dang! With the seeds from these nearly two-dozen luffa, I could grow an entire acre of luffa.
So, the good part of my experiment…
They were planted near my squash and didn’t get attacked by the squash bugs. They were also near my cucumbers and didn’t get attacked by the cucumber beetles. As a matter of fact, about the only bugs I saw on them were a few red ants. (We’re in TN.) They attracted lots and lots of bumble bees and the daily new blooms of big yellow flowers were absolutely beautiful.
The not-so-good part…
I planted them in the same bed as the cucumbers. Holy moly, the luffa vines and cucumber vines twisted around each other ad nauseum. Remind me to not plant them next to another vining plant. That’s was about the only negative.
I’ll definitely plant luffa again next year. I think they are now an annual staple in my garden!
And if you need some luffa seeds, seriously, let me know. I’ll send them right over.