Helleborus from seed: preventing mold during fridge cycle?
Any tips for preventing mold and mildew during the cold wet fridge cycle?
I used 8 weeks of warm (72F)/ moist followed by 8 weeks cool/moist (in my fridge, ~40F). I did not soak the seeds first (I now know to do that next time), but I watered the medium pretty well -- it was wet for the 1st couple days.
I used new, unopened, supposedly sterile growing medium in double ziplocs. Most seeds grew mold during the fridge cycle. None germinated.
For the next attempt, I first microwaved the growing medium for 10 min on high before using it (once it cooled). I also sprayed the seeds & medium with Captan fungicide. No luck -- still had mold. Again, very few seeds grew mold during the warm cycle (and I threw out those bags); the fridge cycle seemed to be the worst. So no germination with my 2nd attempt either.
Any suggestions? Should I just give up and buy plants?
Last question: how long does helleborus seed last? If I can get 2008 seed (which must be 18 months old now!), is it worth another attempt?