I started some pawpaws in a 5 gal pail this last growing season. They are now a few inches tall, and I was advised to wait until the Spring to transplant them in their final location. I think this is a good idea given that the one I transplanted from that same bucket last fall did not make it.
I am wondering if I should burry the bucket in the ground or move it in the cold cellar so that the roots don't freeze to hard.
I have some that were started in the nursery outside and I am planning on protecting them with hardware cloth and mulch.
The ones in the bucket I think I will bring in the cellar. Hopefully they don't come out of dormancy in the middle of February. The temperature in the cellar should not go above 4 C, but I don't have much experience with overwintering stuff in there.
In addition to protection from the temps with mulch, you will quickly in the spring want to shade these seedlings if you're planting them in the open. For the first couple of years they don't tolerate direct sun too well. Before I studied permaculture, I planted fruittrees in orchard style, but I did understand that I needed to protect my young pawpaw trees. So, here is my silly but effective solution. I take the shades off for their third year.