Hello everyone, I tried last year growing luffas, but as a beginner, I didn't know that they would need much more compost than what I gave them, and what space they would need.
So this year, I want to try again; however, I don't want to have a bed JUST for luffas. If they don't do well, I'd have an empty bed, and if they have company, they'll probably fare better too.
What plants would be good as companion for them ? I plan to have a 4 feet tall trellis (probably in a triangle shape, so that would be about 8 feet of surface; what other plants could I add there, to help them grow and protect them from aphids, and other insects who'd want to eat my luffas ? Would companions that goes well with cucumbers and squash in general be goods ?
I've found a list of companions online, but would they really go well with luffas ? Here's the list: Beans, (Pole), Onions, Catnip, Oregano, Corn, Peas, Marigolds, Radish, Marjoram, Sunflowers, Nasturtiums, Tarragon, Okra.
The luffa variety is luffa acutangula; I want to produce vegetables sponges.
Once my loofas got going, nothing could stop them and they needed no companionship. I am on year 3 after planting loofas and still have legacy loofas!! One in my front yard has given me literally dozens and is still going. It was a volunteer, growing next to a passionfruit and some geraniums.
In the backyard another volunteer is right next to some lemon balm and collard greens. I've planted them with sunflowers too. Beans I find problematic since they all end up tangled together and the loofas have a longer life than the beans, and the beans get mildew and flea-type beetles that get passed to the loofas. Sunflowers seem to attract fewer pests and bumblebees, which I find are really happy to pollinate loofas.
Nasturtiums seem to go well with everything, and would provide some nice low cover as your loofa goes high.
Since they make so much shade, I'd stick with any of the short herbs you listed below. Those would grow in the little bit of vertical space between the ground and where your luffa leaves start.
I've personally never dedicated a bed to luffa, I just amend individual planting spots. For example, last year I grew them up my south facing porch by making a mini raised bed out of concrete pavers. It was only around 1 square foot (granted, I worked the soil below that too) and filled with rich earth and compost. Amazing how such a small footprint supports such a gigantic plant! I just used poly fencing on the porch to trellis.
I could not tell you, for the life of me, why I took this pic in black and white! But you can see the tiny little paver bed at the corner of the porch. You may want to go taller than four feet.
Just seeing that photo makes me even more eager to be in spring. Sometimes I wonder how I have been able to live this far without all those plants around.
Just for clarity, I have two rebar grids, about 4 feet by 8; I plan to have then forming some kind of arch trellis, meaning that it'll be about 4 feet tall, but it would be twice that length. Or perhaps I should put those rebar grids vertically ? This would be quite a sight, but I'm not sure if they'd hold up against each other.
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