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Digital Subscriptions > Hobby Farms > March/April 2019 > Avant-Gourd

Avant-Gourd

Growing versatile luffa gourds pays off in home gardens and at farmers markets.
PHOTOS BY SUSAN M. BRACKNEY

The ultra-exfoliating loofah sponge might be a staple in countless bathrooms, but a surprising number of people don’t know where this natural scrubber really comes from. The most common misconception is that loofahs are products of the ocean.

Actually, they’re the dried, fibrous innards of the gourd species Luffa acutangula and Luffa aegyptiaca. Thought to be native to India, these members of the Cucurbitaceae family are relatively simple crops to grow for yourself and to sell at market.

A LITTLE LUFFA HISTORY

Luffa gourds aren’t exactly new to the United States. By the late 1800s, they had found their way into seed publications such as the Catalogue of Rare Florida Flowers and Fruits: For the season of 1890 from Jessamine Gardens. Advertised there as “Vegetable Sponge or Poor Man’s Dish Rag,” Luffa acutangula is described as “one of the most unique and remarkable novelties ever introduced.”

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About Hobby Farms

Hobby Farms March/April 2019, Annual Poultry Issue, Definitive Guide to Raising Worms, 5 Feeding tips for Rabbits, Grow Peanuts & Luffa Gourds, And More.......