Loofah and Orange Stuff

This year I tried something a little different in my garden. I planted a couple of Loofah plants. We had an usually long, cool spring this year, so everything we planted was slow to get going this year. The Loofah was no exception. But, in the past couple of weeks, the Loofah has taken off, and the flowers have begun to bloom.

loofah

The flowers come in pretty little clusters.

loofah

The Loofah is actually a type of squash and, like most other squash varieties, it produces both male and female flowers. The female flowers produce the squash.

loofah

When small, the squash can be eaten. But I planted these Loofahs for two reasons 1) to see if I could grown them in this climate and 2) to let them dry and make loofah soap with them. I know they will grow in this climate.

loofah

But they got a little bit of a late start, and now the weather has turned very cool. I’m not sure if the squash will continue to grow and have enough time for me to allow them to start drying on the vine before the cold weather gets here and kills it.

loofah

I think that the few small squash on the vine will be ok, even if they don’t get as big as I’d like. And next year I plan to have several Loofah plants and get them in the ground a little earlier.

And remember that mutant pumpkin?

pumpkin

Well, the plant managed to put out two more pumpkins for us.

pumpkin

Not as big as The Great Pumpkin it initially gave us, but two pretty nice looking pumpkins, none-the-less.

pumpkin

You know how I am about orange tasting stuff, but so many of you have sent me some really great sounding recipes using pumpkin that I may just end up eating these things this year. Either that, or I’m going to have some orange pooping chickens for quite some time.

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17 Responses to “Loofah and Orange Stuff”

  1. Angie says:

    I love the pumpkins! It was too wet here in early spring and many things drown. I have no gourds or pumpkins or much of anything else this time. Congrats on your fall harvest!

  2. Lilla says:

    Penny, I am so jealous that you can plant loofah! That would never work here. Do you read Rhonda’s blog, Down to Earth? She’s in Australia and did a post about her loofahs. After they dry out and she cuts them into desired shapes, pours her homemade soap onto them. Once they set and dry, you have an instant soap-covered loofah sponge that makes a great gift. Such a neat idea!

    Your pumpkins are huge! You really must use them for baking. You know you can puree the meat and freeze it, right? Lots of uses for pumpkin…pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cheesecake (yum!), pumpkin soup. And, if all else fails, dogs love pumpkin, and it’s supposed to be good for upset tummies. Don’t let the chickens have it all. Dolly and Diesel would love to share!

  3. Farmgirl_dk says:

    Hey, I’ve read that pumpkin (with the seeds), along with garlic, carrot and dandelion makes a natural chicken dewormer! So don’t feel badly if you wind up feeding pumpkin to the chickens! I have so many tomatoes, my chickens are feasting on those, but sadly, the ‘maters have no deworming abilities as near as I know. :-)
    I’ve never heard of loofah soap. The only loofah I’m familiar with is the loofah sponge that comes from the ocean. What are the benefits to loofah soap?

  4. basicliving says:

    Angie – I know what you mean. We had such a cool and wet spring. Our garden really did not do very well this year. That mutant pumpkin was a volunteer and, for some reason, it flourished!

    Lilla – Sometimes I’m amazed you can grow anything there! Your summer was all of like 6 hours long this year, wasn’t it ;-) I don’t believe I’ve ever been to Rhonda’s site, but I like the title! Maybe you could send me the link to it? Making loofah soaps is exactly what I plan to do with the loofah! But my plan is to put the loofah in a piece of PVC pipe and then use cold process soap to soak it and pour over it. Once it saponifies and hardens, I’ll remove the whole thing from the PVC and slice it into soapy loofah bars. That’s the *plan* – but it all starts with those little loofah squash maturing and drying!

    I suspect I will end up baking the pumpkin and using some in recipes, and maybe freezing some as well. I really do want to try out a few of the delicious sounding recipes people have sent me. My dad send me one for a pumpkin roll that sounds out of this world! Between those 3 pumpkins I am certain there will be way more pumpkin meat than we could possibly eat, so the chickens will get their share – and I’ll see if Dolly and Diesel take a liking to it too! They usually love all types of veggies, so maybe they didn’t inherit my dislike of orange stuff ;-)

  5. Lilla says:

    Farmgirl, it’s not actually loofah soap. It’s homemade bar soap that it poured onto a loofah sponge. So, what you end up with is a loofah sponge and soap combo.

    Here is’a Rhonda’s blog post about processing loofahs, and at the end of this post you can see other links about loofahs and soapmaking.

    http://down—to—earth.blogspot.com/2009/03/processing-luffas-loofahs.html

  6. basicliving says:

    Hi Danni – Yes, I’ve heard that pumpkin is a chicken de-wormer too. Some say to mix it with buttermilk. I just feed it to my chickens raw and they seem to love it. Last year Charlotte gave me a bunch of pumpkins to feed to my chickens – and I’m pretty sure it was the seed from one of her pumpkins that produced that mutant plant I ended up with! Loofah soap is really just slices of loofa surrounded and covered in soap. They are great for smoothing your feet, elbows, knees, etc. I’ve ordered them from others before and really like them. I’m hoping I get to make some this year!

  7. Lilla says:

    Oh, and Penny…

    Rhonda’s post for today is about making pumpkin risotto! It must be fate. You HAVE to use those pumpkins, now.

    http://down—to—earth.blogspot.com/2009/09/pumpkin-risotto-tutorial.html

  8. basicliving says:

    Hey Lilla – I LOVE her blog! Thanks for sending the link. I’m afraid the pumpkin risotto looks a little too pumpkin tasting to me :-( But I found a lot of other really great thing on that site! Thanks!

  9. Lilla says:

    I knew you would love Rhonda’s blog. She is such a neat lady, full of wonderful ideas. And, she has chickens!

  10. lisa says:

    those pumpkins are gorgeous. We got a huge pumpkin from Tom’s work this year I bet it is 40 lbs or so. my chickens will love it I am sure and it is good to know it is a natural wormer. Go Pumpkin!!!

    I like the soaps that you are talking about. I am kinda partial to shea butter. That stuff is amazing…..

  11. Julie says:

    Penny is the pumpkin roll your dad gave you the recipe for made with cream cheese? I’ve made those before and are they delish! You have to try it! It’s great for get togethers.
    I have grown loofahs and love them for batheing, I really like the idea about them being made into soap sponges. One year I had so many I ended up using them for pot scrubbers. They’re pretty rough and tough if you cut them lengthways. I haven’t grown them in years though. Will you save me some seeds. If I get an over flow of them here I’ll save them for you next year. I’ll only want one or two, you can have the rest, I really like the plants and I think the honey bees will like the blooms!
    Take Care! TTFN!
    Love Ya!

  12. basicliving says:

    Hi Lisa – It’s funny how nature works. The things I intentionally planted and nurtured in the garden didn’t do well this year. That volunteer pumpkin wasn’t planned, or even wanted for the most part, an it flourished! But I have to admit, the pumpkins are really pretty!

    Julie – yes! The recipe is the cream cheese filled one. I had a slice at my parents’ house a couple of years ago and I really liked it. I guess the bottom line is that I can eat pumpkin, if it tastes nothing like pumpkin at all ;-)

    You have given me an offer I can not refuse! I will gladly give you as many loofah seeds as you will take to grow. I am certain they will do much better in your climate than mine. And if you’ll just set the loofah’s aside while they dry, I’ll do the rest. And I’ll even throw in a couple of bars of the loofah soap for your effort ;-) Now the hard part – remind me to bring you the seeds, along with the horseradish, when I come down for Christmas!

  13. Oz Girl says:

    I’m not a big fan of pumpkin flavored desserts either, but I would be gracious and make stuff for the hubby, I guess. LOL Love the pic of the dogs with your hubby and the pumpkin, great shot!

    And good luck with your loofahs, I’m crossin’ my fingers and hope they dry out for ya! :)

  14. Julie says:

    You’ve got a deal! I also have to remember to give you the flower seeds. I have them ready for you :-)
    With the loofahs I’ll probably be able to just leave them on the vine and by Christmas of next year they’ll probably be just getting ready to pick, dryed and all.
    Just let me know a couple of days before you leave from there and I’ll remind you, I can’t wait to see you. :-)

  15. basicliving says:

    That’s perfect! We’ll have a loofah harvest day while I’m there! I can’t wait to see you either, Julie. I really miss you.

  16. rhonda jean says:

    Hi basic living. I am the aforementioned “rhonda”. :- ) Your loofahs are great! It’s fine to cut them off the vine just before your first frost and dry them inside or on a sheltered veranda. Let them go brown and crackly before you peel them.

    They do need a long growing season, having them ready to plant in the garden as sson as all chance of frost has past is ideal. And I noticed an ant on one of your flowers. Ants do most of the pollinating so don’t be tempted to brush them off.

    Good luck with your growing. Now I’ll have a quick read here before I go.

  17. love the pumpkins, we grew the biggest pumpking in our village autumn competition one year, it was 340 pounds….. we beat old Tom who was in his late 80s and had won the competitions for years and years….

    Afterwards he asked me how I grew such a big pumpkin…. so I told him… ‘pure neglect Tom’ the daft bugger only asked me where he could get a jar of pure neglect for his pumkins next year LMFAO

    x

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