Lion’s Mane is amongst the most interesting to grow of the culinary mushrooms, producing beautiful snowball-like fruit. This tasty mushroom’s spongy texture soaks up whatever flavour it is cooked in and can be used as a meat or seafood substitute in recipes. However, this mushroom bruises easily thus rarely found in the supermarket making it great choice to grow at home.
The Mushroom Grow Kit is intended to be grown inside. The Kit contains a bag of hardwood sawdust inoculated with Lion’s Mane mycelium and is ready to ‘fruit’.
Step 1: Inspect your Mushroom Grow Kit
- Examine your bag to make sure it is fully myceliated (white all over). If so, then it is ready to start fruiting! However, if you can see areas of brown sawdust that are not myceliated then place your kit in a dark location (~18-24 C), and check it every day until it is all white.
Step 2: Choose a location for your kit
- When your kit is fully myceliated (all white), choose a location that is bright but out of direct sunlight, at room temperature, and is well-ventilated to minimize exposure to spores.
- Keep the bag closed and turn it on its side.
- Using a knife, gently cut two 5 cm ‘X’s along the side of the bag where the mycelium is touching the bag, with as little damage to the mycelium as possible.
- Next, gently squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag through the slits and fold the extra plastic bag (part with the filter in it) under the kit and place the kit upright. The fresh oxygen at the slits will signal the mycelium to start producing mushrooms (usually within 2 weeks or so).
- Make a ‘Humidity Tent’ to go over your Grow Kit to help create a humid environment for your mushrooms to grow. Get a clear plastic bag (so light can come through) that is large enough to loosely cover the grow kit with enough room for the mushrooms to grow. Cut approximately 10-1.5cm holes to allow for air exchange (CO2 out O2 in) and place it over your grow it.
- Lift up & replace the ‘Humidity Tent’ 2 to 5 times a day to spray the inside of the tent with water and allow for fresh air in.
- Also spray the sliced area once a day until pinning begins.
- If your mushrooms start to grow long and stringy, it is usually a sign that there is too much C02 so ventilate the mushrooms more often and/or increase the number or size of holes in the bag. If your mushrooms are drying out, increase the humidity by spritzing more often.
Step 5: Harvest, Storage and Cooking
- Lion’s Mane mushrooms can generally be ready to harvest between 4 to 7 days after pinning.
- Harvest when ’teeth’ have clearly formed but before they begin to dry out and turn golden brown by cutting the mushroom off close to the bag with a knife.
- The book ‘The Fungal Pharmacy’ by Robert Rogers is a good resource for information on the medicinal properties and ways to use lion’s mane.
Step 6. Second Harvest and compost your ‘spent’ Grow Kit:
- To attempt a 2nd harvest (not guaranteed), simply keep let the grow kit rest (keep it covered for a few days so does not dry out) and fruit should develop again where you sliced the bag. If fruit begins to develop in another part of the bag, simply make another cut where they appear and tape up the old holes. Follow Steps 2 – 5.
- Once you are done fruiting your kit, break up the sawdust/mycelium and put it in your home or city compost or use as a soil amendment in your garden bed.
- Mushrooms produce airborne spores as they grow. When released from the gills they produce a dusty surface on your grow kit and surrounding area. To reduce exposure fruit your kit in a well ventilated area, use a ‘Humidity Tent’ and harvest mushrooms while they are still young.
- Always cook mushrooms before consuming.