Squash, Gourd, Ornamental Luffa
HEIRLOOM. Grow your own bath sponges.
Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.
Fruit Size The average size of the fruit produced by this product.
Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.
Spread The width of the plant at maturity.
Height The typical height of this product at maturity.
Sow Method This refers to whether the seed should be sown early indoors and the seedlings transplanted outside later, or if the seed should be sown directly in the garden at the recommended planting time.
How to Sow
Sowing Directly in the Garden:
- Sow in a rich, well-drained location in full sun after all danger of frost. Do not plant squash family crops in the same spot 2 years in a row.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
- Sow 6-8 seeds 3 inches apart in hills 8 feet apart.
- Cover seeds with a ½ inch of fine soil.
- Firm lightly and keep evenly moist.
- Seeds emerge in 7-14 days.
- Thin seedlings to 3-4 per hill when they are 1-2 inches high.
How to Grow
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. Avoid disturbing the soil around the plants when weeding.
- Keep plants well watered during dry periods to promote rapid, uninterrupted growth. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
- Gourds grow well on trellises or supports, keeping the fruits off the ground.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
Harvest and Preserving Tips
- Harvest after the shells harden. Cut the fruits from the vines with 1-2 inches of stem attached.
- Cure them for a week in a warm, dry location with good air circulation.
- Store them in a cool, dry place at 50-55 degrees F for use throughout the winter.
- Add to fall and winter displays when dried.