Hybrid vegetables with unusual coloring aren’t the only way to jazz up the garden patch. Eggplants with elfish grins, cucumbers that slice up into perfect heart shapes and yellow zucchini that resemble corn on the cob are quirky enough to fascinate even children who don’t like vegetables.
 
While you can use clear plastic molds such as those used for making candles and chocolates as well as plastic pop bottles to alter the shape of many vegetables, Vegiform® molds are constructed of high-impact, UV-resistant plastic that will tolerate repeated outdoor use.
 
The best candidates for shaping are members of the Cucurbitaceae family (e.g., cucumber, melon, zucchini, squash). Choose a specimen that almost fits the mold; it should be neither too small nor too big. If the blossom hasn’t dropped on its own, gently pluck it off. Place the vegetable between the halves of the mold, and fasten the mold in place with the provided closures. Arrange a few leaves from the plant around the mold to keep it shaded.
 
 
As with any other garden plant, nurture the vegetable plant with “LAWF” (light, air, water and fertilizer). If the vegetable shows signs of discoloration or if it doesn’t seem to be growing, simply remove the mold and place it on another vegetable. Once the specimen is touching all the internal areas of the mold, the mold is ready to come off. You can remove only the mold and allow the vegetable to keep growing (it will retain its shape as it continues to grow) or cut the vegetable off its stem. If you leave the mold on too long, though, you could damage both the mold and the vegetable.
 
To free the shaped vegetable, remove all the closures, open the mold and gently extract the vegetable. After use, clean the mold with soap and water.
 
—J.M.
(04/05)

 
 
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