Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Petola Sarang / Loofah Gourd / Luffa aegyptiaca & Seed Giveaway

Lush petolas hanging down and climbing on windows

Sorry for the long silence, dear friends. I didn't feel like blogging in a long time, and I even stopped visiting all my blog friends here for a while. Right after I posted my last entry, I went to check on my cats and found Yoruichi dead. I was quite sad at her loss, especially after she survived against all the odds. She was a brave, loving girl, and I guess she fought so that she can spend her last days at home with us. Every time I looked at my blog I am reminded of her. Then not long after that we went for Umrah, which was truly a gift from Allah the Most Beneficient. Perhaps I shall write a bit about my experiences there in later entries. And then did some more to-ing and fro-ing due to hubby's work. The heavy monsoon rains derailed a lot of gardening, and my garden began to resemble the Jung-Den (Jungle Garden) it is named after. Haha. And now really I am in the middle of reorganising the house, but that also led to reorganising the garden... and fond memories of my blogging friends... and now I guess here I am.

Current partial view of my Jung-Den. In the background is the cat enclosure,  its roof completely taken over by a single petola plant. Foreground: The same petola plant on black netting. As you can see it is very cool beneath this green canopy :-)
Can you tell that the petola plant is fruiting prolifically? I guess it is pretty happy at its present location, right next to the kitty waste + kitchen waste compost bin *wink wink*

Top view of petola plant interspersed with kacang sepat / lablab beans on top of black netting. They are fighting over dominion of the skies! 
We were quite pleased that the petola plant chose to clamber all over the cat enclosure roof, as we feel the leaves will provide shade and some odour-proofing.
The very first petola gourd I noticed. :-) This was back in early October 2012.
The same baby petola all grown up :-) I gave this baby away.
Freshly cut petola, to be eaten with sambal belacan or enjoyed raw as it is. Surprisingly nice. It took me awhile to learn how to harvest big petolas that have not gone to fiber yet. Leave them too long on the plant and they will have some inedible fibers in them.

What I had for lunch today: petola, kacang sepat, sweet potato leaves and cekur manis leaves stir fried with fermented black beans (taucu) and dried fish (ikan bilis).
Another stir fry: onions, chili, petola and ikan bilis. I have also made soups with petola.
Peeling off the skin of a dried petola. Note the latte colour of the skin. This seems to denote the perfect time to harvest these gourds for loofahs.
Peeled loofah and dried skin next to it. Shake the loofah and you get seeds!

The above is the first loofah I peeled. It was gorgeous. By Allah's graciousness, the first petola my neighbour chose to peel was the perfect one. The others we peeled were at too advanced a state of decomposition, with grey fungus growing on the fibers.

Now for the giveaway bit. If you are interested in growing your own petola, I have a limited amount of seeds to give away. Just drop me an email at homelychaos(at)gmail(dot)com with your name and email address and I will send them to you. Offer stands while stocks last. :-)