Luffa Sponge Gourd Production Practices for Temperate Climates

in HortScience

The objective of 2 years of field studies was to begin development of a luffa sponge gourd (Luffa aegyptiaca Mill.) production system for a cool, temperate climate by studying the effects of planting date, planting method, in-row spacing (30.5, 61, and 91 cm), and pruning techniques on yield and quality of luffa sponge gourds. High yields of mature gourds were obtained when transplants were field-set as soon as the danger of frost had past. Highest marketable yields were obtained when plants were spaced 30.5 cm apart in the row and the first four lateral shoots were removed. Plants spaced 91 cm apart produced gourds with the largest diameter, whereas plants with 30.5-cm in-row spacing produced the highest yields of gourds with bath sponge diameters (5.1-7.6 cm). Plants spaced 91 cm apart and topped at node six obtained high fiber density, strong fibers, and excellent visual appeal, but low yields. Yields were competitive with yields obtained in warmer climates.

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