We have four seasons out here which I define by what’s being tracked in on the kitchen floor. The seasons are: “animal hair,” “hay,” “mud,” and “really frickin’ cold.” The mud season runs from what you city people would call “autumn” through the end of “spring.” For an undetermined period in between, mud season is interrupted by “really frickin’ cold.” Shortly before our first freeze, I harvested my loofah vine.
The loofah vine is a tropical plant that can be successfully grown here — just one vine took over the whole garden. (Important gardening tip: these vines are meant to climb something). If you pick a loofah when it’s young (6 inches or less), you can eat it. There are many Asian recipes for this plant, but generally you can treat it like a zucchini. Grown to maturity, their interiors dry out and turn into the spongy material that can be used for bathing or scrubbing.
Mature loofahs turn brown, but can still be successfully harvested a bit prior to that.
These things must be like kudzu in the tropics. One vine, cultivated from a planting of three seeds, took over the entire garden and would have extended much further if we had permitted it. As I popped open each loofah, I gathered 40-50 seeds from each. I estimate that my single vine produced over 50 loofahs. (I was not able to harvest them all — I started them too late for our comparatively short growing season.)
Guess what everybody is getting for Christmas?