Patola or luffa (scientific name) is commonly planted as vegetable or for food. According to scientists, it contains calcium, iron and plenty of phosphorus.
There are two kinds of patola:
- One is the many-sided which is inherently ours and the other is the cylindrical type which is called “patolang Kastila.”
- Our local version is the sweeter kind.
Patola is not difficult to grow, but it likes loose, sandy soil, fertile and does not lodge water. It may be planted at any time of year, but there are more flowers, and fruits are bigger when the weather is cool.
Patola is planted two times a year: from March to May and from October to December. But if the fruits will be made into luffa, it is better to plant it in October-December so the harvest falls in summer. Ordinary patola is planted directly in the field; but if it is not in season, plant first in plastic bags (perforated at the bottom) and then latter transfer to the field when it will be needing trellises to climb on.
- Plow the field and clean 2-3 times, with 7 days interval.
- Dig trenches 3 meters apart from each other.
- Plant the seed in the soil at 3 x 3 (or 2m) meters apart.
- Set bamboo poles or posts in rows about 3 meters long and 3 meters apart. Tie strings or wire from post to post about 3 weeks after germination of seeds. Patola will bear fruit even without trellis, but many fruits will turn out in bad shape.
- Patola needs watering. Dig canal for irrigation about 1Â½ meters from the plant or between trenches.
Apply composting animal manure
About 3-4 months after planting, or 45-50 days after flowering, patola can be harvested.
A hectare of patola can yield about 10,000 pieces or more, depending on how well the plants have been maintained.