O.K. zone 7 or 8 and warmer, time to get those tomato seeds started. I now have two batches of plants up and just start a third batch, the main crop, today.
I've been having a difficult time limiting the number of tomato plants, so this year have taken on a different strategy. I'm dumping all seeds of a particular group into one container, and what gets planted is a random mix. Indeteminate beefsteak tomato seeds are all dumped in together and somewhere between 5-10 seeds got planted this round. Sweet Cluster, Super Sioux, and 4th of July all got combined as well, though only Sweet Cluster will be planted early season. The blacks and the chocolates got combined, as did the greens. I have not planted any yet, but all paste types also got combined. For spring and early summer this year I'll plant: 2 Juliet, 4 sweet cluster, 6 beefsteak, 4 green, 4 brown or black, 6 Celebrity, 2 German, 2 Brandywine. Also will plant about 12 paste tomatoes of various types. Boy, sure am glad that I'm limiting the number of plants!
My four volunteer plants that were plucked from the beds in November are about 10-12 inches tall now. It will soon be time to size them up to six inch nursery pots. my Juliets and Sweet Cluster plants were about six inches tall prior to re-potting into singe pots today.
Supplemental light, the cheap solution. Go to Lowes or Wallmart and buy a silver dish reflector clip @ $6-$10 depending upon the size. Buy a 100 watt equivalent CF bulb for each reflector. I start my seeds in small community pots which are set in solid trays about 12 inches square, or alternately use large plastic bottom trays, both of which allow for bottom watering. Each container holds 4-5 small community pots. I clip a reflector fixture on to each side of the tray and have a timer to cycle on about 14 hours per day. This makes for thick stemmed, healthy seedlings.
Photos to be posted later.