How to Grow a Loofah – And Why You Should!
Have you ever wondered how to grow a loofah? Are you still using a plastic-based sponge to wash your dishes or your body? It’s time to make the switch!
Traditional sponges are hard on the environment, yet they’re still the primary choice for cleaning. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution – and you can grow it at home!
Why switch to natural loofahs?
Unsurprisingly, traditional sponges are made from plastic. Synthetic fibers rub off as you use the sponge, ending up in our waterways. Through this process, plastic sponges pollute our rivers and oceans.
When it’s time to dispose of sponges, they’re hard to recycle – and if they’ve been used for dishes, they can’t be due to food contamination. That means they end up in the landfill, where they will sit for many, many years.
Although it may seem small and insignificant, when multiplied by billions of people worldwide, it’s a lot of waste. If we all learned how to grow a loofah, we’d make a huge dent in plastic pollution!
How to grow a loofah
Ready to skip the plastic? Here’s how to grow a loofah!
Loofahs come from gourds. There are two types in particular – the Egyptian luffa and the angled luffa (although they go by many names.) These plants are in the same family as cucumbers, squash, and melons, so you’ll notice a similar appearance.
1. Gather supplies
Most importantly, you’ll need loofah (or luffa) seeds. You can find them at your local garden center or nursery. You may also order them online – check out Sustainable Seed Company.
You’ll also need soil, a pot or a plot of land, and compost or manure.
2. Plant the loofah
Plant the loofah seed in moist soil in a 5 or 6-inch pot, keeping it inside for a few weeks. This is best practice, as they need a long season to ripen – about 150 or 200 warm days. After that point, transfer the loofah to the outdoors.
3. Maintain the loofah
Loofahs do best in full sun, with moist, drained soil. Add compost or manure to help nourish the plant. They require lots of room, as their vine can get quite long.
Allow the fruit to mature until they turn dark yellow or brown. The skin should begin to separate from the inside fibers. When the fruit feels lightweight, it’s time to pick.
Begin peeling the skin where you see cracks, eventually completely removing the skin until you are left with the inside sponge.
There you have it – how to grow a loofah! Will you try this out? Leave a comment below and let me know how it goes! If growing your own loofah seems a bit out of your wheelhouse, you can find them for very reasonable prices on Etsy!
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