interested in star/heart molds to grow cucumbers/zucchini in?

ameera(z11 Dubai)February 22, 2012

Hi, just in case anyone is interested in trying to grow cucumbers in molds that will make heart or star shaped cucumber slices (can also do zucchini), I bought some from Japan that seem nice and sturdy. My only problem is I haven't been able to use them because I can't seem to grow cucumber plants.

My plants germinated just fine but then got infested with flea beatles (the plant wasn't even 5 inches tall yet) and even though I kept picking them off the leaves, I guess I either damaged the leaves or the babies destroyed the plants at root level?

I just re-planted seeds in hopes to try it again.

I bought a total of 12 molds (6 packs--there are two in each pack), including shipping (and this was without the current shipping special they have, I paid the full shipping cost), for $145

On Ebay, this seller is selling 3 molds for $115:

Ebay 1

Also on Ebay, this seller is selling each pack for $87 (then you have to pay $18 for international shipping)!!

Ebay 2

I bought these exact same ones Here --and including using the buyer service from Tenso (explained later) the total cost of 6 packs was $92.50 (this is without the shipping cost)---and that seller is selling 1 pack for $87, that is crazy!

I hope I can explain this all without confusion... Note, you must have Paypal

You sign up with Tenso:

Tenso

Then use their buyer service to purchase the items-

Tenso buying service application:

Tenso Buying Service

the url you will need to enter for the item is:

http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/gardening/item/365749-2/

note: if you buy at least 3,150yen the domestic shipping will be free (from the seller to the Tenso address)

Tenso will then email you an invoice which you pay via Paypal.

Once the item arrives to Tenso, they will send an invoice the the shipping/handling.

They mail the items EMS so it is express shipping.

Here was the breakdown of what my order was:

6 2-pack molds 5,880yen ($73.24)

Tenso buying service fee: 1,500yen ($18.68)

EMS shipping fee: 3,200yen ($39.85)

Tenso service fee: 980yen ($12.20)

Total: 11,560yen ($143.97)

Right now, Tenso is having a 1,000yen international shipping special (for shipping costs up to 5,000yen)

If I knew they did this shipping special from time to time I would have waited... my total would have been 9,360yen ($116.52) instead!

I hope that all made sense because its going to get a bit more complicated LOL

ok, so my package weight was 1,340g

If you want to stay within the 5,000yen limit for the 1,000yen shipping special, you can buy 2,500g worth of the molds--approximately 5 more orders than I did (total of 11, maybe 10 to be safe)

if you don't mind paying a bit extra for shipping (anything over 5,000yen) you can get 2 more on top of all that with the same service fee of 980yen (up to 3,000g, with shipping becoming 5,400yen (400yen above the special offer limit) so with the special you will end up paying 1,400yen total for the shipping) --but if you want to buy more you will go above 3,000g and the service fee jumps to 1,580yen, and the shipping goes up too)

so sorry if that all didn't make any sense. This took me forever to write and I am too tired to try to rewrite anymore LOL

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bi11me(5b)

Cukes for the holidays. Kind of a long-term ROI... at $1 each, assuming 2 crops per year, it takes 7 years to start turning a profit.

Here is a link that might be useful: starring cucumbers

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 7:07PM
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gunnersm8

kinda cool though. i didnt know you could do that. makes sense now that ive seen it. id try the market gardeners forum. seems like something theyd be interested in.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 8:55PM
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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

Very pretty! I can't let my cucumber-eatin' seven-year-old see these or this will become the new demand around here.

I remember seeing on television a few years back that Japan used square molds to create squarish watermelons--they were far more space-efficient for transport and stacking at the supermarket.

There were rectangular molds for cucumbers, too, but I see they've moved beyond space-efficiency into cool shapes!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 9:24PM
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ameera(z11 Dubai)

bi11me, yeah, it isn't cheap to get these but it would just be so cute!! and yeah, my BIL pointed me to mini shaped cutters that will make the cucumber star or heart shaped LOL But with these molds you get the whole cucumber, skin and all, which make them too cute!

gunnersm8, I will go find that forum and post it there :)

ralleia, those square shaped watermelons are sooooo expensive to buy its ridiculous! But then again, a lot of fruit is expensive in Japan.

There was one American couple who used to sell molds like these for all kinds of fruit but they retired from the business... I didn't know about them while they were in business so I was sad I never got to buy any from them...and then was so happy when I found these!

Well, I first found that Ebay one selling 3 molds for $115...that is way too expensive though!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 6:37PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

YIKES! $145.00 for pretty cucumbers????

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 8:26PM
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ralleia(z5 Omaha, NE)

I might see if my relatives in Japan can pick up some of these and mail them to me. My daughter would be delighted!

They'd probably be a hit for hors d'ouvres, too.

Yes, pretty much everything is expensive in Japan. So many people living in such a limited space! It's amazing how they manage space though--I've been studying some of their space-efficient designs to try to make better use of our small house. I don't want to pay the taxes on a large house.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 7:26AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Sounds wonderful for a caterer or restaurant.

I once made a huge salad for a picnic and included sliced kohlrabi cut into different shapes (stars, diamonds, triangles). No one cared....

    Bookmark   February 24, 2012 at 11:18AM
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chilimonkey(Victoria, BC, 9a)

Thanks ameera for the write up and information. I just sent in an order for 6 as in your example.
Lets see how the process goes.
I think all my friends will think it's cool to get a heart shaped cucumber.

Steve

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 2:23AM
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thegreatcob

these things remind me of the old cucumber straighteners used
in UK during 1900 century.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 9:18AM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

I find that my cucumbers grow better in cooler weather and the insects bother the plants less, too. Do other gardeners in Dubai have success with cucumbers? Perhaps certain varieties are suited for your climate? I hope you can enjoy heart shaped cucumbers in your salads soon.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:17PM
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nc_crn

In climates as hot as UAE (and a lot of Mexico, too) cukes are an ideal controlled-climate greenhouse grown crop.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:29PM
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ameera(z11 Dubai)

OMG I just got back from visiting the US and I totally was burned out by last year's vegetables I tried to grow... I got them going too late and EVERYTHING failed. The cucumber plant was waaaaay too late, by the time it flowered the weather was too hot.

Now that these new replies reminded me of the cucumbers, I will go plant some seeds tomorrow! :D

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 5:58PM
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ameera(z11 Dubai)

ralleia, did you ever get the molds from your relatives in Japan?

missingtheobvious, that is ashame no one cared about the shapes you cut!! But at least with the cucumber molds, each slice automatically will already be heart or star shaped, including the skin on them... so I think people might notice it more?

thegreatcob, that is interesting!

chervil2 and nc-crn, the weather right now is still with highs around 80F but Over the next few weeks it should cool down to mid 70s... so I need to hurry up and get some veggie seeds going now!

My BIL has a farm here in UAE and he grows cucumbers every year. I showed him the molds and he just laughed at me LOL... but he picks his cucumbers small (unless they are a small variety..never asked) so the molds would be useless for him.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 6:07PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Too pricey for me! But it got me to thinking about something, it might work, or not.

Since I'm an electrician, I have a heat blanket for bending PVC conduit. I could also shape PVC in to star or heart shapes with it very easily. And cut them in half so that I could remove the cukes later.

Would it have to be clear? I wouldn't think so? Or would they have white skin?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 12:09PM
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ameera(z11 Dubai)

wertach, that is great if you are able to make the PVC into these shapes! I have no clue if it has to be clear or not to get the green skin color though!!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 6:51PM
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gardenman101(Z6 Spingfield, Ma)

Kinda expensive to get cute shaped veggies, and from a bussiness standpoint (Growing for caterers, etc) you would need a alot more then 3 or 6 to make enough cute shaped fruit to make it worth it, and at that price i dont think it would. I think that there has to be low cost alternatives out there to make it viable. And from a hobbiest standpoint Id rather spend the money on more seeds. Although I do have to say it gives me ideas on how one might possibly make them. Good luck with your molds, post some pictures when you get fruit finished, id would be intrested on the pro's and cons you encounter.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 8:40PM
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jolj(7b/8a)

They have been doing this with gourds for years now.
But first time I saw cukes.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 2:31PM
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jonfrum(6)

If you're handy with tools, you should be able to make a DIY version of this with plexiglass. The star pattern, if not the heart.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 5:47PM
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ameera(z11 Dubai)

I will definitely post pictures if I am successful! I planted the cucumbers too late last season (although I had planted some a month earlier but they were infested with aphids and died) and it was way too hot by the time they grew a couple of feet and started flowering. I got a few teeny tiny cucumbers but they didn't grow any more and the plant just stopped in it's tracks at that point.

My cucumber seeds just sprouted two days ago and the weather here has gone down to the lower 80s, upper 70s in the last few weeks so I am hoping they successfully grow!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 5:37PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

The little light on top of my head turned on again! LOL

If you could find an old Mattel Vac-U-Form Mold Making Toy on E-Bay or somewhere you could probably make your own molds with it.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 1:02PM
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ameera(z11 Dubai)

I am an idiot.. I didn't even bother thinking about what size my cucumbers will become compared to what size cucumber will fit in the mold...

I planted Sweet Success cucumber seeds and found a forum of people discussing it and people have posted pictures...these cucumbers get huge and fat! I don't think these will be suitable for the molds... unless they grow long before they grow fat... but I doubt that.

I found a website of one store here in Dubai that says they have a cucumber variety named "Soarer" that I thought would be perfect for these molds but they were sold out when I went... :(

The only alternative I could find was a cucumber named Beit Alpha. I think these can still grow to be fat cucumbers but I am hoping I can just pick them while small and they will do find in the molds.

I don't think I will order seeds of different varieties from overseas because of time/seasonal issues. It will start getting too hot I think by the time the plant is big enough...

I should have read more about the Sweet Success variety before... I just liked the description that they are easy to grow and don't need pollination so I bought them.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 7:43PM
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ameera(z11 Dubai)

Ok I just checked the link of the seller I bought the molds from and they are not available anymore...

If anyone is interested in them still, you can go to that site's homepage http://global.rakuten.com/corp/worldwide/ and in the search box enter デコきゅう to find other sellers that have these.

Another thing--before using Tenso's buyer service, try to purchase the items first with your own card and entering the billing address as the Tenso address you are provided when you sign up with Tenso. I just bought some muffin molds and my UAE credit card was accepted by the seller... so you can save some more money in case the seller accepts foreign cards.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 7:49PM
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ameera(z11 Dubai)

wertach

I just did an Ebay search for that item:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_sacat=0&_from=R40&_nkw=Mattel+Vac-U-Form+Mold&rt=nc

and people are selling it... and there is a site dedicated to selling stuff for this machine:

http://www.gaugepods.com/vacuform/ads.htm

all I can say is I wish I had one of these! I wish I had one when I was younger too! This would have been so much fun to make toys!

it seems the machine wouldn't be able to make a form long enough for a cucumber though...unless it is for mini cucumbers?

    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 7:56PM
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