As of last week the tomatoes are started. I spend the most time wringing my hands over this particular plant. I want strong, sturdy seedlings and every season I try to determine when I should start them to allow enough time for a hardy transplant when the weather cooperates. But not too early since I don't want to nurse 3 foot tomato plants in my basement the second week of April.
In 2010, I started them on Valentines Day. Sprouts on March 10th, and as I can see no other mentions in my gardening journal about tiny transplants or gigantic ones, I can only assume that this might have been a good time to start them.
So why then did I wait until March 30th to start the tomato seeds in 2011? I was pregnant with the little girl at the time so maybe it was because I was behind in most things chore-related. That was a very wet spring and I see a note that the tomatoes, once transplanted, had a slow start.
In 2012 I started them on March 17th. Notes show that I was harvesting sungolds in July so I will chalk that up to a win.
2013 was March 1st. No notes on transplants but the plants did not do well last year. They all died, starting from the bottom - wilting and turning brown.
Given the sporadic starting dates I think it is safe to say that you should start tomato seeds any time between Valentines Day and St. Patrick's Day.
Red and Yellow Pear