Growing instructions for Edible Luffa
Chinese okra ("Luffa cylindrica"), also called dishcloth gourd or luffa, is a type of gourd produced on plants that closely resemble cucumber vines.
The fruits are green and grow up to 1-3 feet long, though they are harvested for food before they reach their mature size. They can be eaten fresh or added to cooked dishes. The inside of this gourd can be dried and used as a cloth, hence its common name.
Chinese okra should be planted in full sun and soil that maintains even moisture without being wet.
Prepare the garden site by cultivating with a garden fork after all danger of frost in spring. Mix 5-10-10 fertilizer with the loosened soil at the rate instructed on the package.
Create hills using a garden hoe. Leave approximately 6 feet between each hill.
Sow the Chinese okra seeds at a depth equal to half their length. Water until the soil feels evenly moist at 2 to 3 inches deep.
Keep the soil lightly moist, but not wet, at all times.
Add 2 to 3 inches of mulch around the hills once the seedlings are 2 to 3 inches tall.
Place a sturdy trellis behind the plants when they are 3 to 4 inches high. Train the vines by draping them over the trellis as they grow.
Apply high-nitrogen fertilizer one week after flowers appear. Work it lightly into surface of the soil with a garden fork and water deeply. Do not allow the fertilizer to touch the vine.
Feed the plants again with high-nitrogen fertilizer in three weeks.
Harvest Chinese okra for eating when the fruits are 6 to 8 inches long, approximately 100 days after sowing the seeds. Gather fruits that are to be used for decorative purposes or as sponges about 30 days later.
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