This section is from the book "The Gardener V2", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
Where the cooks can be prevailed upon to use it, this is found to be a most profitable vegetable. It is most easily cultivated, and about a dozen plants will in time afford heavy pickings daily. The seed is usually sown in heat early in April, putting out the plants obtained towards the end of May or early in June. It is not yet too late to sow. Fill as many 3-inch pots as plants are required with common soil, firmly press in about three seeds into each pot, and place them in a mild hotbed and keep moist. The seed will germinate more quickly if soaked in water twenty-four hours previous to sowing. Thin out the seedlings to one plant in a pot, hardening these off, and planting out before becoming root-bound. Any sunny spot is suitable to grow them. Here, for instance, the plants will follow winter Spinach on a well-manured raised south border. The plants should be planted at least a yard apart each way, and should not be placed near to fruit-trees, as they greatly impoverish the ground. They will require to be watered till established.
The growth spreads very rapidly, the points being usually picked.