Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another Tuesday ~ Another what is it?

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh

What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: Our life is the creation of our mind.”

~ Buddha

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love.”

~ Washington Irving

I think I may actually have a plant this week that will be hard to guess.. I want to know what the plant is and what the fruit is used for... I am pretty sure you will be very surprised at what I have been growing.. The fact is that this fruit is believed by almost everyone to come from somewhere else.. Most people are not aware that it grows on a vine.. It is sold in specialty shops and many times cost a pretty penny.. I am rather fond of them and use them in several different spaces in my house and even outside in the back yard.. Can you guess what I am growing here?

The first picture is how these things look when they grow.. Their dark green leafy vines will reach for the sky.. climbing anything it can wrap a tendril around and hang on as it climbs over and under and around everything in it's path.. That is of course provided that it has plenty of water.... The vine will grow quickly up and over an old fence or even up into a tree.. Before long you will see hummingbirds swarming around the lemon yellow flowers that cover the tops of the vines.. Bees and butterflies will try to sneak a drink of the nectar but the hummingbirds will fight for every drop..chasing the bees and butterflies away every time they see one

anywhere near the vine.. The second picture is of two that I picked last year.. I saved these two for seeds.. I meant to plant them this year but at the beginning of the year I forgot about them.. I really think some of you may be surprised at just what these things are... I know I was when I was first given the seeds.. It sorta looks like zucchini squash doesn't it? I have been told that it is actually edible and quiet tasty.. Being that I now know what it really is.. I'll just pass on eating any of it.. you can have my portion..My friend Thoi does eat them.. she grows them for what they are and to eat.. The vines cover her small yard like a jungle...I will say that she eats them long before they get this big though.. The one in the first picture is quiet obviously being grown for what they become.. not for food... Can you guess what this strange plant is?

a few fast facts~

1~) the vines grow to at least twelve feet and many grow up twenty feet or even higher.
and will have dozens of fruit per vine.. the leaves and vines are crushed and used for an insect

2~) the fruit is edible.. I googled it and their are even recipes on-line for it..
The flowers are also edible and are dampened then very lightly floured and fried for a delicious treat.

3~) It has large bright yellow flowers.. both male and female flowers.. the male flowers are found in clusters while the female flowers will stand alone..

4~) it is a fast-growing annual found wild in India and now cultivated in much of Asia.

5~) This warm season plant is sensitive to frost. It yields well in warm climates. The plant prefers deep well drained sandy loam soils, rich in organic matter with a pH ranging between 6.5 to 7.5. But it can also be grown on any good soil. The soil may be prepared well by adding organic matter or animal manure a few weeks before planting.

Did the fast facts help at all? I bet they didn't.. this is one of those things that either you know or you don't.. I'm thinking that a lot of you will be surprised when I tell you tomorrow exactly what I have growing in these pictures.. Some of you might even like to have a few seeds.. Please feel free to guess if you know or think you know the answer.. I love comments so you can comment just to say howdy if you want to too..

Have a wonderful day!

Update~yes the plant is a loofah squash.. Or some people call it a gourd... Most people think that Loofah is a sponge that comes from deep within the ocean. It is often sold as a deep sea sponge.. especially by those people who set up shop in the center of the local mall and who also sell the salt they claim comes from the dead sea .. They have instructions on how to use it to cure every skin ailment known to mankind.. I have grown Loofah for a few years.. I got my first seeds as a gift from my Thailand friend; Thoi.. She eats hers.. I use mine to wash dishes and scrub pots and wash the car and the face and to wash vegetables.. They are pretty useful. They are also expensive to buy.. I saw a basket in one of the mall shops that had one thin slice of Loofah, a tiny vial of cleansing solution, and another tiny vial of dead sea replenishing gel.. The basket I could hold in the palm of my hand.. wrapped in Plastic and tied up with a green bow... the gift basket was $34... I wanted to come home and start seeds right then even though it was still cold outside.. These Squash get Long.. Really long.. as thin as that slice was... I could get rich if I could slice and sell mine like that.. Thanks to all who guessed!


Lin said...

Crud! I've got to wait until tomorrow???! I'm gonna be up all night wondering. Thank you.

A Lil Enchanted said...

I have no idea Patsy... but I know it isn't a cucumber!

A Lil Enchanted,

Nessa said...

It looks similar to a vegetable we call Petola. Once it's old and dried it becomes a loofah. Good for scrubbing! :)

clare_stjohns said...

Well I should have checked last night, cause someone else beat me to it, but its a lufah, or loofah or it will be will it dries.

I had no idea you grew them, I'd love to have one!

For anyone that wants a quaint but fun trip to Florida, go to Tarpon Springs and learn about the sea sponges that the Greek immigrants harvested off Florida, you can still buy sponges and loofahs and eat some wonderful Greek food at a nearby shop.

Pblacksaw said...

Lin~ Sorry you had to wait till today! I hope you slept alright!

~Lashan~ Sorry no it was not a cucumber..

Nessa ~ Wow You are exactly right.. It is a loofah and it is great for scrubbing everything from your face to the car..

Clair~ Yes , it is a loofah.. I do have some seeds for these.. remind me next time you are here and I'll give you a few.. I grew on inside once.. it was slow to start but it did grow and produce a few squash/gourds..

Thanks to everyone who guessed.. Thanks for visiting my blog! Have a wonderful day!

Lulu said...

Oh my gosh! I WISH we are neighbors I will surely love to cook those!

It is grown in the Philippines and it is very good when cooked in some type of filipino dishes...

PJ said...

omg! really!? that goes to show you just how blonde i really am. i had no idea that loofah was a plant. boy do i feel foolish...lol!

A Lil Enchanted said...

That is awesome... I had no idea that loofah was a plant either. I would love to plant a couple of these. Maybe someday I'll have a nice place to plant that isn't rocks and red Georgia clay.... my yard stinks. I have two small beds that we spent a fortune to make plantable and the lemon balm owns one.lol

Thanks for sharing this wonderful plant with us :)

A Lil Enchanted,

Pblacksaw said...

lulu~ have you eaten it? I haven't tried it for food.. I grow it simply for the loofah..

Pj~ don't feel blonde.. I didn't know either.. until I saw these huge flowers in what I knew was a cherry tree in my friends yard... I know she grows strange things so I asked her what it was and got the same answer she always gives me.. "special ting come from my country!" Then she gave me one for a "sturprise" as she calls it.. I was really..."sturprised" as she peeled it..

Lashan~ Lemon balm does take over doesn't it? I think it will grow anywhere once it starts there.. You could grow these in pots of course.. most everything I grow is in containers are in raised beds because we discovered that we have electrical lines buried here.. lines that were buried before the power companies made maps of these things.. so to be on the safe side I grow stuff in tires and buckets and barrels and a few old freezers.. The Loofah has to have a strong trellis though.. But I have seen many people who plant it near a tree and let it run up the tree.. you could set a half barrel on the sunniest side of a tree and fill it with some good dirt and you would be ready to plant.. they say you can make clay rich with oak leaves mixed in about half and half.. would be a cheap thing to try..

Have a wonderful day!