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Angled Gourd and Luffa

I grew Angled gourd (Luffa acutangula) and Sponge gourd or Luffa (Luffa aegyptiaca) for the first time this year.  Why?  Out of curiosity really.  I just wanted to know that I could grow them in this climate successfully.  I also miss the sweet taste of the gourds.

The seeds germinated very well and the entwined vines cover the whole homemade trellis and stretched to the vegetable garden fence.  They have taken forever to flower.  The Angled gourd flowered first but only with male flowers, the one without a small gourd attached at the base of the flower.   The female flowers appeared much later.  Once they begin production, they produce a lot of gourds.  Only four of them have grown to full size so far but there are plenty of small gourds on the vine.

The Sponge gourds are not in such great shape: both male and female flower buds appeared but have stayed in their ‘bud’ stage for weeks.  They started to grow again and blossomed last week.   But it’s too late at this point since it’s too cold for the gourd to mature.

I may not have many full size gourds or dry Luffa to scrub my body with but there is nothing wasted.  Young gourds and flowers of both types can be eaten the same way you would with squash.   Stir-fried with fresh garlic and oyster sauce is great.  The young shoots can be eaten the same way.

I’m still debating whether I should try again next year.

Male flower

Male flower

Female flower of the Angled gourd with a small gourd attached at the base

Female flower of the Angled gourd with a small gourd attached at the base

Angled gourd and Sponge luffa entwine on the same trellis

Angled gourd and Sponge luffa entwine on the same trellis

Angled gourd shoots and flower buds can be eaten

Angled gourd shoots and flower buds can be eaten

Mature Angled gourd, with angles all around, hence the name

Mature Angled gourd, with angles all around, hence the name

Luffa flower bud can be eaten at this stage as well

Luffa flower bud can be eaten at this stage as well

Finally it blossomed

Finally it blossomed