Wow, it has been almost two months since the last Luffa post but I am delighted to inform you that a few fruits were harvested.
The happiest days for gardeners are when they can bask in the beauty of their harvested crops. Sunday October 15. 2017, was that day for the Nakagi household.
Since the last blog the vines have continued to grow longer and produce more female and male flowers and consequently fruits — thank you, pollinators. Pests like leaf miners and snails are still a problem but the plants are still alive, therefore no more pesticides have been used. The weight of the Luffa fruits were too heavy for the fence, ans caused it to fall twice. Next season, I will make sure the fence that blocks intruders(dogs) is stable.
We cut over 25 Luffas from the vine. There were three that were completely dry and brown — yay — that is the perfect harvesting condition. Peeling the Luffa skin off is time consuming. I suggest wearing gloves because the dry Luffa fibers might poke your skin! After peeling, I shook them to remove most of the seeds then rinsed the now dry sponges in water until saturated. Seeds that fell out were dried along with the sponges. Once the seeds were dry, about 24 hours later, I put them in a plastic bag and placed inside the refrigerator. Writing the date would be a good idea and way to keep track of harvest dates.😊 The dry sponges were then chopped into small segments so that the rest of the stubborn seeds could be removed. I rinsed the sponges again in water and squeezed them to ensure complete saturation, then they were set out near a window with sunlight to dry with seeds.
There a few Luffas still on the vine and once they are completely dry and brown, I will harvest them. As soon as all the Luffas are off, I will be cut all the vines down, remove roots and prepare soil for another crop!
Thank you soil, sun, Dad, Sustainable Seed Co., FBI (fungus, bacteria and insects), water, Jacob, Family and Friends who wished the plants well, Long Beach Willow Springs Park for free mulch, and my Botany Professor — Dr. Nash — for inspiring me to grow my own Luffas! ❤