The Luffa has been cultivated in Egypt since before the 1600’s as far as recorded history tells us. Some grow them for steaming and pan frying the young tender fruits but most are grown for the natural bath sponges the bigger fully ripened ones make when dried and peeled. In the past they have been used for making oil filters to soundproofing, insulation, and stuffing mattresses.
Sow seeds 1/2″ deep, indoors 8 weeks before last frost. Transplant outdoors, in full sun, 16″ apart, when soil is warm and all chance of frost has past. Luffas need warm weather, so do not rush and put them outside too early, and they need a very sturdy trellis to climb. Training the vine to climb all the way to the top of the trellis with string or ties is key to them not sitting on the ground as they will rot. Harvest brown skinned, yellow stemmed, ripe luffas, as the green ones will only produce weak sponges that won’t last. Once harvested peel a zipper of the skin and gently pop out the sponge and rinse with water to prevent oxidization. Shake seeds out.