Welcome to spring and the loofah soap experiment

I don’t know about you, but I am done with winter. Weather-wise, it has been winter since early November here in northern Ohio. By my count, that’s four months. Four months of extreme cold, gross black snow on the sides of the roads, treacherous driving and high heat bills.

I’m over it.

So, I’d like to announce that here on Emmet Street, it is officially spring! And the opening of spring means planning for my vegetable garden. This year, I’m going to attempt to grow loofah. I was as surprised as anyone to learn that loofah is not a sponge that lives in a pineapple under the sea. It’s actually a member of the cucumber family. It‘s edible when harvested early, while the fruit is small and green. As the fruit matures, it become fibrous and, from the looks of it, a choking hazard. At the end of the growing season, it’s possible to remove the skin and dry the fibrous insides, making the familiar loofah sponge.

I’ve read that growing loofah in my region of the country is challenging, but not impossible. It has a very long growing season and needs up to six months to mature. I’m up for the challenge. If all goes according to plan, I will start my loofah seeds inside in early April, transplant them into my garden in May, and by September, I should have at least one fully mature loofah to dry.

What will I do with the loofah once it’s dried? Make soap, of course! I’ve made loofah soap before and it was wonderful for scrubbing away dirt.

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My first attempt at loofah soap. It was scented with orange essential oil. 

I’ll post updates of my progress here on the blog throughout the growing, drying and soaping process.

Have you tried growing loofah or any other odd vegetable? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments section!

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