That's right, you guessed it, your favorite bath sponge is actually a Gourd! Luffa Gourds can be grown from freshly harvested Luffa aegyptiaca seeds in the Summer for an Autumn harvest. Luffa Gourds are primarily grown on a trellis in order to save on gardening space, since the fruits aren't very heavy. The outer shell is dark green, while its inner core is soft and string like. Peeling the outer shell away will expose the usable bath sponge that you know and love. The plants can grow anywhere between 6 to 12 feet long, and grow to a mature height of about 24 to 30 inches tall. The leaves resemble that of a Pumpkin plant, and each vine will develop yellow flowers, prior to your Luffa Gourd fruits formation.
Luffa Gourds are considered to be an annual crop. This means that the plants will grow quickly from freshly harvested seeds, later developing fruits and seeds within a single growing season. If allowed to mature, the fruits will contain large seeds, which can be gutted from the Gourd, later to be dried and then saved for the following growing season.
Sowing The Seed
Gourd seeds can be sown directly outdoors when the weather is warm, 110 - 120 days prior to the desired harvest date. Be sure to remove all unwanted plant life prior to sowing your Gourds. The seeds can be planted on 12” hills, in groups of 4 per hill. Sow at a depth of 1” under topsoil. Check below for additional information on spacing and growth habits.
Gourds prefer the heat of Summer, and thrive in areas of full sunlight. Temperatures of 85F or higher are recommended. The soil should be rich in organic matter, but also well drained. A well drained soil prevents your plants from becoming waterlogged and rotting. To improve drainage, we recommend adding a light compost to areas containing hard, compact soil. Water the seeds and plants daily, near the roots to avoid mildew.
Germination & Growth
Gourd seeds will take anywhere between 10 to 20 days to germinate successfully. The plants can reach heights of 24 to 30 inches tall, and can spread a good 6 to 12 feet long. Many gardeners use a trellis, or some type of support to grow Gourds vertically. Growing vertically will save space in your garden, and can also improve the oxygen flow through your plants, allowing for a healthier harvest.
Common Misspellings: Gord, Gorde, Gourde, Gords, Gordes