Lion’s Mane mushrooms are fun and easy to grow. The process is similar to many other mushroom types, and requires only a few basic supplies. The easiest method for growing Lion’s Mane is through the purchase of a kit, but you can grow them from scratch with a few additional skills and tools.
Continue reading for step-by-step instructions of growing Lion’s Mane from a kit, spawn, or from scratch. We’ll detail the tools and equipment you need, as well as the optimum conditions for growth. Additionally, we’ll tell you how to grow Lion’s Mane on an outdoor log pile.
How To Use A Growing Kit.
Mushroom growing kits are available from many online shops and farmers’ markets and are a great option if you are new to the hobby.
In your mushroom growing kit, you will find a ready-to-grow mushroom block. Place the block on its side to allow the mushrooms to sprout from the top. Cut x’s into the bag and ensure you mist inside the bag a few times a day.
The Lion’s Mane will naturally sprout from the holes you have made in the bag. Each kit is likely to provide you with around two to three flushes.
How To Grow Lion’s Mane From Spawn.
If you are a more experienced grower or desire an authentic experience, you can grow Lion’s Mane from spawn. Once you have the spawn, you will need to add a substrate. Hardwood sawdust with bran is one of the best growing mediums for Lion’s Mane.
Master’s mix is also a great option mixed in a 1:1 ratio of hardwood sawdust and soy hulls hydrated to 60%. This substrate has the potential to produce high yields and a prolonged shelf life.
Once you have your substrate sterilized, add the spawn at a 10-15% rate. As the mushroom fruits easily, you may already see small fruits forming. If this is the case, cut holes in the bag nearby to allow them to develop.
What Do I Need To Grow Lion’s Mane?
If you’re growing Lion’s Mane from scratch, there are a few basic supplies that you will require:
- Lion’s Mane Grain Spawn
- Grow Bags
- Hardwood pellets
- Soy hulls
- Pressure Cooker
How To Grow Lion’s Mane From Scratch.
If you’re an experienced grower wishing to cultivate Lion’s Mane from scratch, it’s best to begin with a culture on agar to create your own grain spawn. You can also start this process with liquid culture.
As with other species, growing involves creating the culture, making grain spawn, adding this to the substrate, then fruiting. Keep your culture healthy, and you can grow Lion’s Mane anytime you want, which will continue to perform for several years.
Step By Step
- Using scales, weigh equal amounts of hardwood fuel pellets and soy hulls (450-500g of each is a good starting point.)
- Add water. For 900g to 1kg of mix, add about 1.5 liters of water.
- Fold mushroom grow bags for sterilization (see details below).
- Using a pressure cooker, sterilize your substrate bags for at least 90 minutes at 15PSI.
- Once the grow bag cools, add around 200g of grain spawn per 2.4 – 2.5kg bag.
- Keep the sterile media away from any object that has not been flame sterilized. Additionally, you should wear a face mask at all times.
- Store the block at room temperature out of direct sunlight for two to three weeks until fully colonized.
- Once colonized, store your Lion’s Mane in a greenhouse or fruiting chamber. This environment needs to be humid. If using a greenhouse, you can mist the walls twice daily to increase this effect.
How Do I Use Mushroom Grow Bags?
Mushroom grow bags sterilize your media during the production of grain spawn. As long as you fold them correctly, you can avoid contamination through your process. Once you’ve added your substrate mix, carefully fold the top of the bags ahead of sterilization.
To fold the bags, flatten the opening along its edges to dispel any excess air. The mouth (seal) should align perfectly. Wrap the mouth around itself on your block of substrate and secure it with masking tape.
How Do I Know When My Lion’s Mane Is Fully Colonized?
Because Lion’s Mane mycelium is very fine in comparison to other gourmet mushrooms, it can be challenging to identify when the Lion’s Mane is fully colonized.
As the block colonizes, it will begin to feel firmer and change to a slightly lighter color; this process takes around two to three weeks.
Does Lion’s Mane Need Light To Grow?
Lion’s Mane likes weak light and seldom grows in complete darkness. However, it’s essential to keep your kit away from direct sunlight.
What Temperature Does Lion’s Mane Grow?
The optimum temperature for Lion’s Mane is 65-70°F, though it will tolerate a wide range of temperatures. Lion’s Mane likes humidity of around 85%, so it’s essential to keep your area misted.
How Long Does It Take For Lion’s Mane To Grow?
The time Lion’s Mane takes to grow depends on its growing medium. If you grow the mushrooms yourself, in bags, the process will be as follows:
- Initial colonization takes around two to three weeks.
- Once colonized, the mushrooms will begin their first stages of growth in two to three days.
- The Lion’s Mane will continue growing and be ready for harvest in around one to two weeks.
However, if you grow Lion’s Mane on logs, the process can take up to two years before your mushrooms are ready to harvest.
How Do You Harvest Lion’s Mane?
To harvest Lion’s Mane, cut the “snowball” off with a sharp knife, careful not to damage the spines. When handled correctly, the mushroom will store for longer amounts of time.
What Are The Difficulties Of Growing Lion’s Mane?
It can be challenging to achieve total colonization with Lion’s Mane, with some growers finding greater success levels through liquid culture techniques.
The mushroom can bruise easily, and you must take care when spraying your grow room, especially during harvest times.
How Do You Grow Lion’s Mane Outside?
If you want to grow Lion’s Mane outdoors, follow the steps below.
You will need wood chips, a drill, rubbing alcohol, spawn plugs, and cheese wax.
- Choose a shaded or wooded area of your garden, away from direct sunlight. Clear away leaves and debris and loosen the dirt.
- Cover your entire area with about 2 inches of wood chips.
- Sterilize a 5/16 inch drill bit with rubbing alcohol.
- Drill holes 4 inches apart, to a depth of 1¼ inch.
- Add more rows spaced 2 inches apart from each other until you have a total of around 50 holes.
- Hammer each of your spawn plugs into separate holes so that they are entirely inside the log.
- Melt cheese wax and paint over the holes to seal.
- Complete this process with multiple logs and lay them on your wood chips—bury one-third of each log within the woodchips.
- Your Lion’s Mane will begin to grow in five to six weeks.