To Eat or Exfoliate?

Luffa (Loofah) Gourd

I’m a food writer and a gardener. I never thought I’d say that — even to myself, let alone out loud — and yet, here I am. Late January is blowing in with wind and ice and seed catalogs galore are gracing my mailbox — and I am itching to dig in the dirt.

I want nothing more than to get outside, feel a warm breeze on my skin and to sink my hands into the dark, heavily composted soil that will (hopefully) nourish a large part of our sustenance in the coming year. Unfortunately, I was born, raised and continue to live in The North; a frustratingly cold place where such wonderful endeavors cannot be undertaken without engaging in epic futility until well into April or May.

So, in the meantime, I am relegated to flipping the pages of seed catalogs, installing new growing lights, browsing heirloom seed listings on Etsy and dreaming of the fun, new, exciting varieties of plants I simply must try my hand at growing. Among them; the luffa (sometimes spelled ‘loofah’) gourd.

A prolific (read: needs a trellis or fence, stat!) vine bearing fruits that are rumored to grow up to an inch and a half per day, the luffa gourd can not only be eaten, it can exfoliate — both your skin and your baked-on kitchen messes. Organic, homegrown, multi-functional sponges/squashes here I come!

What interesting plant varieties are you coveting for your 2010 garden? Share your favorites in the comments and I’ll feature them in an early spring gardening post!

:: :: ::

Diana Prichard, a freelance writer and wanna-be homesteader, wastes a copious number of long winter days thumbing through seed catalogs and dreaming of the green thumb she someday hopes to acquire. She sometimes chronicles that and other thoughts on life at her self-titled personal blog, her twitter stream and her facebook account.

:: :: ::

Photo Credit: Seven Acre Woods, who has Heirloom Luffa Gourd seeds available on Etsy.

4 Responses to To Eat or Exfoliate?
  1. anne ferris
    January 25, 2010 | 11:17 am

    Let me know how it goes for you! I tried these last year and I don’t remember if the seedlings never made it or if they didn’t sprout well. At any rate, I did something wrong and would LOVE to try it again. I even put in a special trellis for them that I didn’t get to use. I’d love to grow these for birthday and Christmas gifts! Along with some home-made bubble bath perhaps…

  2. Michelle
    January 25, 2010 | 2:07 pm

    I really enjoy the 5 minute blogs so I nominated this one for an award: Thanks for all the info you provide!

  3. Amber
    January 25, 2010 | 2:29 pm

    I tried seed saving last fall, so I hope that my seeds work when I start them. I’m growing sugar pie pumpkin, tomatoes, ground cherries, blue hubbard squash and cucumbers from saved seeds. Fingers crossed!

  4. Leslie
    February 23, 2010 | 4:24 pm

    We grow and can pretty much everything for the year. But this year we are adding grape vines to the mix! Can’t wait to see if they work out!