I bought a packet of loofah seeds last summer (2021) but had to hold off sowing them until April this year. By coincidence, BBC 2’s Gardeners’ World presenter Monty Don (episode broadcast) 8 April 2022, is also growing loofahs this year.

He suggests we all grow them together!

9 April

Monty advised that loofahs need heat to germinate (instructions on the internet suggest 25 degrees Celsius). He suggested placing them on a windowsill above a radiator. I don’t have a windowsill above a radiator, nor a heated propagator (and I’m not going to leave the central heating on all night). MY instructions (from The National Trust) suggest “a sunny windowsill in a nice warm room” and making your own propagator from two recycled clear plastic fruit punnets – with the holes blocked up!

I have compromised by using an unheated propagator and placing it on my Study windowsill (sunny until mid-afternoon and – being a newish extension – the roof is well-insulated).

I’ve used a mix of seed compost (not the freshest as it’s been in the Potting Shed cupboard for a while) and home-made sieved compost in 3 inch-square long pots. I placed 2 seeds, on edge, in each pot, watered sparingly, and topped up the compost. Now it’s a waiting game.

My instructions suggested soaking the seeds for a few hours in lukewarm water, but Monty didn’t, so neither did I. Germination might start in a week but could take two or three. Once the roots show through the bottom of the pots, it’s time to pot-on. Hopefully, by the time the plants require support, they’ll be in the greenhouse and in “bucket-sized” pots.

These need a long growing season – harvesting won’t take place until the fruits start to harden and the skin begins to change colour – IN NOVEMBER.

Loofahs can be eaten – like any gourd – and should be cooked like courgettes – not too long or they will break up.

I’m growing mine to use as pan-scourers – but I might eat some too.

15 April

18 April

22 April

My loofahs
Monty Don’s loofahs (BBC2 Gardener’s World, broadcast Friday, 22 April 2022)

26 April

While one seedling seems a bit shy, five have got their true leaves.

29 April