This section is from the book "The Gardener V3", 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.
There are not many districts south of the Grampians where crops of these may not be secured, if the young plants are nursed a little after being planted. They may be sown in the same manner as Melons, and placed in the same frame, although the heat will be rather too much for them, and will cause them to be drawn. But as the amateur is not supposed to have a choice of structures for different plants, he is often compelled to make compromises; and as a greenhouse has just the opposite fault of being too cold, they can be raised with the young Melons, and would place them more directly in the way of the ventilation, and near the glass; and with care there is little fear of their being injuriously "drawn." An intermediate temperature is more suitable. In the majority of instances it will be advisable to have a little fermenting material ready by the time the plants are ready to put out. There is no need for much trouble in the preparation of it. A pit should be thrown out, in some warm sheltered corner in the full sun, to the depth of 1 1/2 foot-A pit 6 feet by 4 feet is sufficiently large to grow three plants, supposing there be a good space all round to allow of their extending. Fill the pit with fresh manure, and cover over with some light rich earth.
Choose warm weather for planting - from the middle of May to the middle of June. Nurse the plants with hand-lights; and when they outgrow them, peg the shoots regularly over the bed to prevent them being blown about and broken. Such a bed ought to give a good barrow-load of fruit. For a Vegetable, Hibberd's Prolific, or Moore's Vegetable Cream, are the best we have tried.