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Too early to plant outside? Too late to start indoors?

I have a dilemma and need advice! I normally start my dahlias indoors in late March or early April, well before planting them outside at the end of May, by which time they are often a foot tall or so. For the tallest ones this is the only way I get much bloom before frost. Those usually start blooming in August or September. The shorter varieties earlier.

This year I bought in March as usual; I keep them on my cool basement floor until I am ready. However, I have not yet started any indoors. Unexpectedly we are having work done in the bedrooms I normally use to start them in. There is no place else for these. (Greedy me, I must have bought 40 or so: I usually fill 2 cards table with pots.)

I am in Zone 5. Our frost date is the end of May, but most years we really donÂt get frost after now (May 3). If I go ahead and plant them outside now, is the soil still going to be too cool? I went ahead and planted one bag yesterday, that had sprouts about an inch long. If we get a frost warning after they emerge I will throw a tarp over them. I thought I should get advice before doing any more.

I could still start the others in paper pots, or soil filled baggies, but that would mean either a cool but sunny basement window (not much advantage there), or outside on the porch/sidewalk/driveway in the daytime, and in the garage at night. The odds of my forgetting to either put them out or take them in consistently are pretty high.

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