Staking Squash

What I did was:

As an experiment, after reading about staking squash, I planted various
varieties of squash, both winter and summer, in a sunny area.  I made a long,
narrow bed perhaps 30 feet by 3 feet in an imperfect part of the garden that
I didn't much care about.  I planted the squash (without knowing whether they
were vine or bush) in two rows maybe 1 1/2 - 2 feet apart in both directions
-- really close together, I know.   I gathered what stakes I had laying
around (and bought some sturdy 6 ft 1 X 1s at the garden store, but if you're
tall I'd say go 8 ft.) and tied the squash plants to the stakes with the
paper covered wire things that come off store bought lettuce.  I adjust the
ties frequently top accomodate new shoots.  When the vines get to the top of
the stake I pinch them off.  So far I have not used slings for the heavier
squash, although I know about doing that, and even the big ones seem just
fine.  I am not growing pumpkins because I think squash tastes better and I
don't have any kids.   I'll probably look into slings for the larger melons,
but the spagetti squash don't seem to need slings.

I have heard that staked squash grows better and produces larger and cleaner
fruit, and this seems to be the case.

If I were to do it differently next year I would make note of whether the
plants were bush or vine, and perhaps put the bush plants elsewhere, because
I'm worried they'll shade stuff.   Some seeds I got directly from squash
bought at the market, so I don't have any idea how they grow -- vine or bush
-- like Kabacha, which is the best squash I've ever eaten.  Staking seems to
keep even the bush squash a little neater, but it doesn't make as much of a

Also I read an article in Kitchen Garden mag, I think, where the woman plants
two melon plants together.  Next year I will be planting 2 plants together
and seeing if they can share one strong stake! 

I am getting absolutely fabulous results so far and my garden is so much
better visually and so much easier to keep organized and take care of that I
will never grow stuff on the ground again.

Thanks for the tips on harvesting squash.  I'll be picking spaghetti squash
later today.

I would still like some more specific instructions on how to prune my tomato
plants.  I'm confused by what I've read here so far.  If anyone has info on
pruning or cutting back squash for better culture or greater productivity,
I'd love to hear it.    

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