This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
In this there is no more skill required than for ordinary crops of other vegetables. It is well to make choice of tend which has been cultivated the previous season. Dig or plough deeply in the fall; let the ground lay as rough as possible throughout the winter, and when it is in good Working order, after the frosts, give it a thorough stirring with the fork or plough. About the middle or latter part of April, according to latitude, will be time to prepare for sowing. Mark off the whole piece into straight and right-angled lines, six feet apart, the intersections of which will show exactly the spot for each hill of plants; at these crossings, drop a few forksful of manure, and work it in well, so that it may mix with some nine square feet of the soil, leaving the middle a trifle elevated above the general level; upon this make a flat surface; drop from six to eight seeds, and cover an inch. When the young plants have produced some three "rough" leaves, go over the whole plot, pull out all but the three strongest, raise the soil up to those left - so far as the seed leaves - and nip out the top above the third rough leaf; this will cause side branches to be sooner emitted, and an earlier production of fruit.
It also enhances very much the fruit-fulness and better quality, if a periodical pinching of the ends of the shoots be persevered in throughout the season - say at every sixth or seventh joint; and, at the same time, those branches which are superfluous, or are not showing fruit in the axils of the leaves, may be rubbed out by the thumb. This will prevent crowding, and give the leaves a free exposure to the light, which will assist the productiveness. Work the hoe often and deeply over the ground before the vines cover it, and so prevent the requirement of much after-weeding. Cucumbers are subject to become bitter if the plants have not sufficient moisture, which makes it necessary where quality is an object, to give water in dry weather. When this is done, let a good soaking be applied.