The loofah sponge is something many of us have seen or bought from the chemist, health food store or even the supermarket to scrub our skin or maybe as a cleaning sponge.
Did you know, the loofah is actually a vegetable from the gourd family?
It’s a vining plant in the melon and cucumber family, and you can grow this at home for your very own organic home grown loofah’s to use in the bathroom.
They are best to be planted at the end of spring (this may be the time to plant them now as I write this).
Apparently they take between 150-200 days to cultivate a fully dried and ready to use Loofah, as the gourd needs to stay on the plant until the skin darkens, and the vegetable starts to dry out, allowing the skin to be pulled off and the dried insides to be be left - this is the sponge. It's quite fascinating really!
This is a great project to start now, you can get your children involved and look forward to cultivating your very own loofahs next year.
The longer they are left on the vine to mature and dry out the more fibres that will develop and the stronger they will be - if they are harvested too early, they will be crumbly and flake easily, so ensure to let them dry on the vine.
The great thing is, while you’re waiting for your sponges to grow and dry out on the vine, you can harvest some home grown gourds for yourself! These would be harvested when they are ripe and tender, meanwhile leaving some on the vine to mature and dry out into the loofah sponge we all know.
Benefits of using a loofah
Helps to unclog pores
Removes Built up oil in the skin
No animal products
Eliminates need for polluting plastic microbead exfoliators
Can even use to scrub the bathroom
Look for and purchase one of these seed names:
Luffa Aegyptiaca OR Angled Luffa, Ridge Luffa, Chinese Okra or Vegetable Gourde
L. Acutangular OR Smooth Luffa, Egyptian Luffa Dishrag Gourd
How to Clean/Store
Rinse and squeeze the loofah dry after every use, and remove from the humid shower to dry in the open, to prevent mould and bacteria from growing inside.
You can soak them in water with a few drops of high quality disinfectant essential oil and rinse them, OR was with a toxin free and leave them to dry in the sun.
Where to purchase
There are plenty of online retailers that sell the seeds.
Purchase seeds online here or check your local garden shop or there may be some at a local farmers market.
For more information on growing them there's more detail in this post here...