Thursday, January 18, 2007
Growing Luffa Sponges in Chacala
This morning I was visiting with one of my favorite neighbors in Chacala. Her name is Concha, and she has 3 rental units. And her son has one unit (soon to be two units) nex door, which Concha manages.
We sat on her patio, which is right on the road. We were enjoying the quiet morning and the warm sunshine. And admiring her plants. I pointed out some some lovely yellow flowers on a vine growing on the building across the street.
Concha kept telling me the plant was a “?????”, a Spanish work I didn’t understand. Finally she went in the house. When she came out she had some luffa-type sponges which she said were growing on those vines.After I admired the luffas, we walked across the street. As we got closer I could see the plant was actually a squash plant. Not some kind of flowering vine.It is a volunteer growing against a semi-abandoned building. Actually the building is usually rented for Christmasn and Semana Santa, but that’s about it.
Anyway, we picked about four dried squash plants, which were still hanging on the vine. And then walked back across the street. We picked the dried shells off the plants, and then gently whacked the resulting sponges on the edge of the garbage can. I think we were knocking excess whatever loose from the sponges.Concha said to let the sponges dry for months before using them. And she showed me how to kind of unroll the sponge, to make it wide enough to swipe your whole arm or leg when you are showering.Every cool!!! I’ve never gardened before where it’s warm enough for luffa sponge–type squashes to dry on the vine. I am very pleased with my morning. It seems as though I learn something new every day in Chacala