The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Grow your own life and loofahs at Down to Earth dot com

Photo: Clematis in Spring

Photo: Clematis in Spring

“Where do you think loofahs come from?”
Danny looked up sensing a trick question. “I don’t know. Probably from the bottom of the sea like natural sponges.”
“I thought so to – ‘We haven’t done so well with the fish today but our nets are full of loofahs.’”
“Well where do they come from?”
“They’re a vegetable. The small ones can be eaten like courgettes.”
Danny was as surprised as I was when I saw the loofahs scrambling up a trellis on the Down to Earth blog.

I’ve been reading a lot of ‘new to me’ blogs recently. Down to Earth is one that I keep returning to. This is an Australian site that focuses on simple, self sufficient living. Apart from growing their own loofahs, they make soap, bread, keep chickens, grow vegetables and much much more.

This site is packed with great ideas and interesting links. I got quite cross eyed watching the videos on food dehydration that were recommended in this article. Come the revolution, the lady from Dehydrate2Store will have to get some enormous guard dogs as hundreds of people will be trying to raid her larder.

There’s something very calm about life at Down to Earth, I get the feeling that everything is in its place. No hysterical rushing about with dustbin liners ten minutes before the lunch guests arrive.

Well worth checking out for practical down to earth advice.

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  1. I’ve only ever grown loofahs in the greenhouse. They need dry conditions when they’re mature and for drying out, because if you get any rot at all it will spread down the fruit and ruin it. When I pick them, I hang them up in a warm dry place to dry off slowly – only then do you break off the skin and shake out the black seeds.

  2. I’ve been reading Rhonda’s wisdom for a while now. She’s the inspiration behind some recent stitching and knitting. I’ve also been having go at making soft cheese and loved the idea behind her aquaponics set up (which unfortunately she longer does due to problems she had with it).

    I’ve been debating loofahs for a while but can’t make up my mind whether they’ll survive in my cold windy garden.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Michelle (NZ)

    I’ve spotted that she has tutorials on the site – I must check them out.

    Love to you and Zeb

    Hi LindaM

    I loved the videos and learnt quite a lot about dehydrating and rehydrating. There’s a great video where she cooks with the dehydrated food – just a few shakes and handfuls in a slow cooker/crockpot turn into a great meal!

    Hello S.o.L

    Yes she is a good writer and so calm!

    Hi Sally B

    Thank goodness we’re not alone on the loofah front!

    Must read the post able learning from the recession. Thanks.

    Hello Tamara

    I was amazed when I realised that they were growing them and then using them as pot scourers 🙂

  4. Quick poll at work: 9/10 people thought a loofah came from the sea. 1 thought they were a man made version of a sponge.

    Wow – Learning something new for a Thursday.

  5. I love the Simple Living section of the Down to Earth blog. The post titled What has the recession taught you? was real food for thought.

    By the way, when I read “where do loofah’s come from” I will admit I thought, like sponges, they probably came from the sea … woops lol.

  6. I have been reading Down to Earth for about 2 years now. She talks to my soul. Truly a beautiful life.

    I cant wait to buy her book and give it to my sister as I am fed up with her going through life one minute like a demented raccoon, then the next like an ostrich, with her head in the sand. What global warming? Why cant I spend huge amounts of money on foreign butter and veg out of season??

    I love it when she says “we are shutting the gate”.

  7. Oh, thank you Fiona!
    I had been looking for a dehydrating site for awhile. I bought a machine and have used it a little bit but it has been far from exciting so far.
    I also read down to earth now and again because my husband is an Aussie and I can make him things his mum used to make. Infact, I think he secretly reads it as well when he gets homesick:)

  8. Michelle in NZ

    Hi Fiona

    I’m a regular reader of Down—To—Earth. Sorry I hadn’t old you about it.

    Rhonda has a great writing style and I’ve picked up lots if ideas from her. Including finally mastering a short crust pastry!

    xxx Michelle and Zebby


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