Trellising Luffa and Harvesting Malabar Spinach
July 20th, 2023
We installed a trellis this week for our heat-loving luffa plants! Luffa (commonly spelled “loofah”) is a member of the Cucurbit family along with squash and cucumbers. While luffa can be harvested and eaten when it is young, our plan is to allow them to fully mature. When a luffa is allowed to fully ripen and dry out on the vine, the flesh eventually disappears, leaving behind a fibrous “skeleton” which can be used as a natural sponge! We love this crop because it’s easy to grow and produces the loveliest leaves (pictured below) and yellow flowers. And, it makes an awesome scrubbing sponge that we use around the farm.
Malabar spinach is making its way back into season at the Farm Stand this weekend! Malabar spinach (pictured below) is a heat-tolerant tropical vining plant with succulent leaves. It is not a true spinach but rather the leaves have a similar mild flavor to spinach. The leaves and shoots of Malabar spinach can be enjoyed raw or cooked. For an easy raw preparation, use the leaves as you would a lettuce wrap. If you prefer to cook it, try it in a stir-fry with some of your favorite veggies.
Did you know that the first step in preparing a bed for new crops is to mow it? Mowing with our BCS tractor is a great way to make terminating a spent crop manageable on a smaller scale. Once a crop has made it through its life cycle, we leave it in place and mow over it. Mowing chops up the plant matter which can then be left in place on top of the beds. As it decomposes, it adds plenty of beneficial organic matter back to the soil.
Upcoming Farm Events:
Farmers Markets this month: Saturday July 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th from 9am-12pm
Meet the Farm tour on Saturday, July 29th from 10-10:30am (sign up here)
Currently in Season at the Farm Stand: Eggplant, Okra, Tromboncino Squash, Armenian Cucumbers, Long Beans, Assorted Peppers, Bitter Melon, Korean Melons, Sweet Potato Greens, Malabar Spinach, Butternuts, and Herbs.