During the time in which I am waiting for my winter garden to grow and my summer garden to freeze I occasionally visit other gardener's plots to observe what they are growing. Recently, while walking around the Tucson Organic Garden (TOG) plot located near central Tucson I noticed that most of the summer plants were gone and small winter beds were still in their infancy. Amidst the younger plants was a plot that seemed to still be growing a summer crop. In this plot there was one plant which displayed interesting leaves, which from the distance resembled grape vines, that immediately caught my attention. This mighty plant was none other than the luffa gourd.
|The Mighty Luffa Gourd
The majority of the plants that grow like weeds here in Tucson either produce thorns or are generally unpalatable. This is definitely one good reason to initially be hesitant of this plant’s taste and texture. Besides, this plant is used for making natural sponges just as often as it is used for making food.
|The Luffa Gourd plant looks a little like Grapevines
|It seems that the bees really enjoy the luffa flowers
Though I have heard that the luffa fruit is very light and spongy in texture and is similar to squash in taste, I am currently of the mindset to not attempt sauté up a luffa for dinner. Knowing that my children are reluctant to try eggplant, perhaps the best approach is to ask someone with experience in growing and cooking this vegetable up to invite me over for a sample before I commit to growing this vegetable.
|An immature Luffa
Though my instincts tell me that this plant may require lot of preparation in cooking for a decent taste to be achieved, I am awed by the beautiful appearance of the leaves and fruit that this vegetable produces.
|The Luffa Gourd flowers are very pretty