|Cuteness from the garden. Who wouldn't love these heart cucumbers from their own garden?|
Obviously, novelty raises the share ability and social media quotient! There is no denying that there are many home gardeners and mommy bloggers who adore these molds, but even though are mostly just pinning them to their boards on Pinterest or sharing old images with their followers on Twitter and Facebook, not to mention Instagram -- I did have to wonder if anybody has actually tried them?II decided to invest in a few imported from Japan (warning, they are pricey and probably not worth spending $75 dollars or more for, as surely, commercial growers will be dabbling in introducing these soon. Not deterred - as I am one whom is always up of some novelty- it's time to test these guys out.
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|OK, I did it. We are not really fans of the heart-shaped cucumber, but somehow, I had to try it!|
Now, I've finally grown my own, to see how they work, and to get nicer photos for myself. Be prepared however, as these molds are costly and hard to find. I don't need more comments about how expensive they are, since I know that they are ridiculously expensive - but, it you have kids, or if you have a lot of disposable income, then why not order a few? (at nearly $80 per mold, you may only want one!).
The amazing thing about these heart and star shaped cucumbers, are the molds themselves. Difficult to find and ridiculously expensive if ordered from Japan ( the ones that cost nearly $80 US each) are nice, but the same ones are now found on a few other sites such as this one, for as low as $26. I can't recommend any source, so you will have to take your chances. New designs are coming into the marketplace however, so you may just want to try one of those.
In fact, Burpee's now carries them on their website, but I have not tried them yet. They even carry some designed especially for tomatoes. At only $14.99, the price feels more affordable for the home gardener. These look as if they are manufactured by a different company, but I would imagine that they work just as well. I might try those next year.
|These molds, imported from Japan are strong, yet small. It takes some care to properly use them, but now, there are other molds on the market which are less costly, and more manageable.|
|Ideally, one would use burpless, seedless or greenhouse European-type cucumbers, but even this Marketmore 70 fits the mold. These large types will just not extend very long, so expect shorter cucumbers.|
After a thunderstorm this past Monday, I placed the two plastic plated around a tiny cucumber I found in the garden (the cuke needs to be very small, to fit between the two plates. So 1/4 inch diameter baby cuke it just about the right size. Anything bigger, and parts of the mold will touch.
|My cucumbers were smaller than if they didn't have molds, but this was just a fun experiment. They don't don't look like much when unmolded after a few days, but once sliced, the magic happens.|
|SHAPED SQUASHES AND PUMPKINS ARE NOT NEW, NOR IS SCARRING, BUT CUCUMBERS? IMAGINE WHERE THIS COULD GO!|
|Low cost alternative molds are also being sold. These were found on the Burpee's site, and they even had tomato molds.|
|Today, commercial growers are using these. This Canadian grower is marketing them under the Picky Gardener label.|
Sakura Home Cherry Blossom Kit
Also from Japanese Trend Shop, comes this amazingly beautiful little Sakura tree, that one can simply water and allow to "bloom" on your desktop or most anywhere. I may actually order this, since it looks like a great Holiday gift ( it's a little pricey), but it also reminds me of those crystals I used to grow on old bricks using bluing, when I was a kid. I think this is paper, but not sure what the blossoms are. Regardless, it looks like the ultimate conversation piece.
Green Walls Project
This summer in Tokyo, a promotion to get citizens to grow "green walls". vines growing on mesh to shade terraces and to add beauty and fresh air, is being promoted by a mixed group of sources ranging from the local governments, to seed distributors and local nurseries.
Already bitten by the container gardening bug and the green movement toward a more sustainable environment, Tokyoites are eagerly challenging each other with their walls of Asagao ( Japanese Morning glories), gourds and Japanese squashes. We all can take a lesson from this most successful movement. On the site linked above, click on the green boxes on the left to see more images.