Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Grow your own loofah

The lawn has had its final cut for the year, what few vegetables we had have long since finished and the plants designed to provide shade to the patio have largely died off. A few morning glories are still going strong though and are a mass of blue blooms. You can't really see them all that well in this picture but all the leaves and flowers at the bottoms of the plants have gone, while the balcony at our bedroom is absolutely covered. It's a lovely sight to open our curtains to each morning.

Apart from morning glories, the other main shade plants were gourds. They too have largely died off now, but H has collected a great crop of gourds. They are a miniature type, small enough to fit in your hand, and H intends to dry them and make them into... something. Here's about half of them, the others are soaking in a bucket of water at the end of the garden until the soft insides have rotted away...

There was one other plant we bought, which was labelled as a gourd too but turned out to be something quite different. H described it to me as something you could use to scrub yourself in the bath and, sure enough, it's a loofah plant (hechima in Japanese). Did you even know that loofahs grew like this? I must admit that I didn't...

On that one plant I counted 10 loofahs this afternoon. Apparently it's a bit of a complicated process if you want to dry them and produce beautiful off-white loofahs such you see in the shops. If, however, you're happy to have a loofah brown as nature intended, all you have to do is leave it on the plant until it has completely dried up! We've got one brown one now and it's been getting lighter and lighter as it dries, while the green ones still feel very heavy when you weigh them in your hand.

I don't know how long it will take to become completely dry and bath-ready but, if you're on our Christmas list, you may just find yourself receiving a loofah this year...


  1. I had no idea loofahs were grown that way! how interesting! My husband and I both thought that they were made of sealife. Cool.
    thanks for visiting my blog, too.

  2. I've only just discovered this too and came across your page when looking into it further. We live in the north of England and have an allotment with greenhouse. Do you think the Loofah plants will take where we live?