Luffah Plant troubles
For the first time ever, I plant luffah/loofah seeds this year. I am very new to gardening. I bought my first house 14 months a go, and prior to that I always lived in apartments with no gardening space. Upon moving in, I began setting up flower gardens, herb gardens and veggie/fruit gardens. This year I wanted to try planting different things from seeds, as last year everything I planted was from the local nurserys and farm stands. So far, I have green beans, watermelon, strawberries, wineberries, tomatoes, pumpkins, squash and luffahs growing. All of the plants seem to be doing really well.. except the luffah. I planted about 20 luffah seeds. I started 5 out of those 20 seeds inside my house on May 1st. Out of the 5 I planted in pots inside, only 1 sprouted. It seemed to sprout very well. It came up as a green seedling, and once it grew its first true leaf, I transplanted it to my garden outside. This was in the beginning of June. I live in Long Island, NY and I've heard luffahs are difficult to grow here. Especially for new gardeners like me, I'd assume! It's now July and the luffah that I transplanted outside is about 14 inches long. It has green leafs all over it, but no flowers yet. It has formed a lot of curly tendrils that look like little springs. I put a long metal pole behind it in the garden so it could twine up it. I've been trying to wrap the tendrils and the plant around the pole to help it go up, but instead it keeps reaching sideways and wrapping itself around my mint. I might've planted it to close to the mint, I didn't realize it was going to be an issue. It is about 12" away from the mint and on the otherside I have sedum about 20" away. Everytime it latches onto the mint, I gently untangle it and attempt to re-wrap it around the pole I set up for it.
Other than planting it too close to other plants, did I do anything wrong? Is there still hope for it? What can I do to help it grow upward? I was really so excited about the luffahs and I really want it to grow flowers and luffa! Is it the correct size for the amount of time it's been alive? It's about 13-14" long now and it sprouted around mid-may, early june. Now it is mid-july. Should it be much bigger? I have mulch in my gardens and I feed my plants flower food occasionally. I don't use any fertilizer, manure, etc.
Now, I mentioned that I planted about 15 luffah seeds outside in May. One of them sprouted in June. It is not doing well at all. It is only about 2" tall. It only has two-three leaves on it. The luffah I had started inside and brought outside has more like 20 leaves on it. I noticed three days a go that four more luffah seedlings popped up outside. I was surprised that they popped up, because I had planted them in the beginning of May. Is it normal that they'd sprout over two months later? I am assuming that the ones that just sprouted and the 2" plant won't grow crop because they are too small this late in the year? Is that correct? Is there anything I can do to speed up their growth? Any advice on all this would be so helpful!! Thank you so much.