Germ 7-10 days (Luffaa egyptiaca)
Grow your own sponges and scrubbers. Harvest when skin hardens, changes to brown and the weight decreases due to drying. 25 seeds
In general, gourd plants are extremely vigorous, covering a lot of ground--some of our vines even took to the trees. Gourds require a long, warm growing season, ranging from 95 to 120 days to maturity. Luffa gourds should be harvested when the outer shell is dry, the gourd is light in weight, and the seeds rattle inside. After harvest you cut off the stem end of the gourd and shake out the seeds. The next step is to soak the luffa gourd in warm water to soften the outer skin so it can be easily removed. The last step is to soak the fibrous sponge in a bleach solution (one part bleach to 9 parts water) to give the luffa a creamy-white color. Rinse in clean water and allow to dry before using. 25 seeds.
Indoors- Individual biodegradable peat/cowpots 1” deep, 3-4 weeks before last frost with soil temperature at 70 degrees. Transplant after last frost without disturbing the roots.
Outdoors- Plant 1” deep, after last frost, when soil warms to 70 degrees. Plant 2-3 seeds every 18-36” apart, with the large varieties the furthest apart.
Harvest- When the skin is hardening and the stem is shriveled, brown, and dried. Cut the stem off closest to the vine.
Cucurbita Gourds- Harvest mature gourds before cold weather. Frost or freezing conditions causes’ injury to skins. Keep in a cool, dark, dry place for curing.
Lagenaria Gourds- Harvest in the fall after light frosts, when leaves die but before heavy frost arrives. Require a long drying period; 3-6 months with good ventilation and the gourds should not be touching each other. Check often for soft or rotten ones, discard them and if mold forms, wipe it off. When the seeds rattle inside and feel light they are dried.
Tips- Vines can grow 15 feet or more. Grow on a trellis for more uniform, straight gourds and for more garden space.