I couldn't let the summer completely disappear without a quick post about our luffa plant. I haven't treated it very kindly, I do have to say - it is a vine plant, and I'm paranoid about letting it grow 'wild' in the landlady's garden or greenhouse. So it has been pot bound, and has sulked at me all summer (flowering but not really fruiting; fruits growing but withering before they got to any size). But then one fruit did start to grow, and, although it never got very fat, it did get to be almost the length of my arm. It then seemed apparent that it was not going to get any bigger, and the luffa itself was trying to flower, but the effort of flowering and fruiting at the same time was definitely too much for it.
So - I found a nice website which told me how to prepare a luffa, to turn it from this:
into a loofah to take into the shower with me.
It was far simpler than I imagined - I peeled it:
- a little bit harder than it should have been, but I think that the size of the luffa meant that it didn't have a solid 'core' for me to press against when I peeled, and so I missed little bits.
Next, I squeezed out the middle jelly like insides, and attempted to get most of the seeds out (I've saved them for next year, but I'm not sure whether they were mature enough). Then I left it on the windowsill to dry:
And that is it - I now have my very own loofah:
It may not be long enough to clean my back thoroughly, but for a first try, I'm very proud of it. And it works perfectly well in the shower :-)
The luffa plant was so pleased to have the burden of the fruit taken off that it has started flowering again already. I'll move it into the greenhouse when autumn really starts setting in and see if I can keep it growing through the winter.