starting seeds

I started cilantro in jiffy pots. Only about 50% sprouted. After planting, I placed the tray on top of my 'frig, since I do not have a heat mat. I noticed that the jiffy pots that did not sprount had this whitish, mold-like substance on the surface of the peat. Is this a problem? How can I improve my sprouting success?
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The white stuff isn't a big deal unless it creeps over to the soil and affects very tiny seedlings. Once most plants are up and growing the mold won't affect them.
As far as the 50% germination rate, that may be as good as it gets for the brand of seeds you bought. And cilantro can be a bit fussy. So, plant more. If you want to rule out your technique and get a better estimate of germination rate, count some seeds into the folds of a clean, moist white piece of cloth. Keep it slightly damp and count how many sprouts you get. Not rigorously scientific, but hey...whattya gonna do?
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They were Burpee brand from the rack at HD. They were stamped for 2006 season.
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You can't get much better than Burpee. So, if you want a better idea of germination rate, try the wet napkin trick. If it's still around 50%, than that's that.
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Look closely, on the back of the Burpee package it says "Packed for 2006" which implies the seed were produced and processed in 2006(maybe 2005). The seed may actually been gathered in 2002, 2003 who Knows. The vitality of the seed is the one best determiner of the germination rate. The older the seed the lower the germination rate.I have had good luck generally with Burpee, but I have had some really bad seed from them also. The best all around seed companies: Territorial, Johnny's, Tomato Growers..IMO.
JEM

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