Growing luffa (or loofah) is like growing pumpkin! We grow the luffa up the ‘pumpkin palace’ along with the pumpkin, beans and cucumber. It is much slower to germinate, and grows for a lot longer than pumpkin, so patience is needed. Once it is ready, the skin hardens and shrivels a bit and the luffa sounds a bit hollow.
The luffa are then picked and bashed around a bit to loosen the seeds inside and the skin. The skin is removed and the seeds shake out, cleaned and dried ready to plant again next year!
We basically followed this guide to making luffa soap, using a glycerine based melt and pour soap from Aussie Soap Supplies and using Pringle cylinders! It was very successful, and there is the option of adding colouring and scents as preferred-we added lemon grass essence and a tiny bit of natural green colouring, also available from Aussie Soap Supplies. Once the soap had set, it pushed up through the cylinder and was cut into the desired thickness (we found about 2cm thick is ideal).
The soaps keep well in small cellophane bags and are great to clean dirty hands after gardening. They also make great gifts!