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You really should wait till chance of a hard freeze has passed...that should be the first week of April. Until the plants have had a chance to establish themselves and the roots to grow, they are vulnerable to a sharp freeze. They might do allright, but there's always the chance of losing one if you put them out too early.
They will have the summer to establish themselves, and will do fine next winter.
If you want to give them a head start, you can plant them into pots. This will get the roots going and give them a head start. Just make sure they get some light of some sort.
I envy you being able to work in the soil. We just had freezing rain and snow over the weekend.
*sigh* The smell of fresh turned earth...
Thank you. Some of the bulbs are actually leafing out. I had wondered about potting them up. Keeping them outdoors during warm spells and inside at night. I'll try that. Yes, we have been so lucky with intermitent weather in the 60's. Of course we are expecting snow this weekend! But spring is surely coming.
If you have those cheap green growers pots hanging about, about 6" is good. The good thing about starting in pots is if it nice, you can put them outside and bring them in too. If you want them to be in planters as their final home, plant them in that planter now. If you plan to plant them in the garden, any container with drainage will work. As for soil...If they are staying in a container, I would use a soilless mix. you can mix it with a cheap potting soil to make the expensive mix go further. If you are planting them in your garden, you can use just the cheap stuff, but I like to mix them both to get the benifits of both.
Benifts: soilless mix holds water better. Soil holds nutrients better and adds weight.
I've got two big pots of composite material stuffed full of them sitting in my utility room...they will go outside just like that on my front porch as soon as weather permits...(mid to late march) They don't require much at the moment..just a warm spot and a bit of moisture. I just started them in the pots they will stay in all summer because it's easier for me...and takes up less room.