Growing Your Lion’s Mane
So, you want to grow your own Lion’s Mane Mushrooms? The first order of business is to talk a little bit about what it is. Lion’s Mane (Hericium Erinaceus) are easy to grow, so they’re an excellent choice for a beginning grower. Lion’s Mane mushrooms have a great neurological benefit since they increase cognitive ability and help alleviate anxiety. They’re very effective if you need to rely on focus and concentration in your job or day-to-day life. At the same time, if you toss and turn at night Lion’s Mane will help calm you down. Lion’s Mane may also help protect our brains from dementia and might lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.
They look like a long-haired snowball and have a melt-in-your-mouth flavor. They are the mushroom world’s version of lobster, so eating them dipped in melted butter is a bonus to your tastebuds. The texture is similar to scallops or lobster.
Let’s talk about why you’re here; loving these amazing mushrooms has given you the desire to grow them yourself! Stay tuned to get information and directions for how to grow Lion’s Mane Mushroom in bags, indoors, in a grow box, or using a Lion’s Mane Grow Kit.
* spray bottle with water
* turkey bag (humidity dome)
* scissors (humidity dome)
We’ll begin with the grow kit bags because it is the most popular and one of the easiest ways to grow your own Lion’s Mane. The kit typically comes as a block in a plastic covering or bag to keep humidity inside with the substrate.
How to grow lion’s mane mushroom
Step 1: Substrate
When you receive your kit, you’ll likely see flowering bodies on the top. You may want to cut off the top of the bag and reach in with clean hands and pull out the mycelium from the top. It has a bitter taste and isn’t something you want to eat. This step isn’t mandatory; it just depends on the grower.
The substrate is a combination of mycelium and sawdust, and it needs oxygen and humidity to flower. Next, you’ll roll the air out of the top, fold, and flip the bag over to keep moisture in. Before you flip the block over, you can tape the open end down to keep it in place. Cut a couple of X-shapes or a straight line across, wherever you’d like Lion’s Mane to grow.
Step 2: Time To Grow
Every day you need to mist the plastic and keep your mushrooms out of the direct sunlight. If you want to amp up the moisture, you can make a dome to go over your kit. All you need is a turkey bag into which you cut 16 evenly placed holes. Once per day, you mist the inside of your dome and the kit, then replace it over the block. Lion’s Mane Mushrooms are at their best in temperatures between 55°F and 75°F. After about a week or two you’ll notice your Lion’s Mane pinning. Don’t forget to mist!
Step 3: Harvest Time
When the Lion’s Mane is still young, you’ll notice there are not as many of the spines as a more mature mushroom. Also, immature flowers begin as a light pink color and will turn white closer to harvest. By the way, keep on misting under the humidity dome! Harvesting happens four to seven days after pinning occurs. When the moment of harvest arrives, you can either cut them off with a knife or twist them with your fingers. Lion’s Mane should flower at least twice and produce about a pound in its lifetime. Now all you have left to do is enjoy!
* knife or scissors
* spray bottle with water
Step 1: Set up
The grow kit box is the easiest way to grow your own Lion’s Mane while still giving you the joy and reward of watching them grow to harvest. Open the front of the kit box along the dotted lines. Now you can see the kit inside as if looking through a window.
Step 2: X marks the spot
You will cut an X across the entire kit inside containing the mycelium and sawdust. Begin at a top corner and cut to the opposite bottom corner, then repeat on the other side to make an X in the plastic. There’s no need for any other cutting in the kit because this action allows humidity to be maintained while exposing the mycelium to oxygen.
Step 3: Water and Light
Spraying your kit is essential for your mushrooms to grow, so make sure to do this a couple of times per day. Ideally, Lion’s Mane like it super humid with mild temperatures. A little pro-tip just for you is to keep your grow kit near the kitchen sink. This location will aid in humidity and be a good source of indirect light. Lion’s Mane mushrooms don’t mind having some sun, but they aren’t fond of direct sunlight. However, they really grow well just about anywhere.
Step 4: Harvest
A couple of weeks after you open your kit, you will see your Lion’s Mane pinning. When the mushrooms are young, they are quite smooth. Once they mature and are dense, they are ready to harvest. Once the bodies of the mushrooms are brown and dried out, they have passed their prime time for harvest. Harvesting is the easiest step in the process. Just twist the fruit and pull them off. Now, enjoy!
How To Grow Lion’s Mane Mushroom Indoors Start To Finish
* culture grown or liquid culture
* large mason jars and tops (grain and mycelium)
* tub or bucket (mixing substrate)
* bags (substrate combo)
* hardwod pellets (see recipe below)
* wheat bran (see recipe)
* water (see recipe)
* pressure cooker at 15 psi
* spray bottle with water
This process is more in-depth and a bit more complicated than those previously mentioned. This is also the most engaging and interesting way to grow Lion’s Mane. No matter your skill level, Lion’s Mane mushrooms are grower-friendly. It’s Let’s do this!
Step 1: The Culture
If you’re familiar with lab methods, you can grow your own culture on plates and store them for use when you want to grow some Lion’s Mane. However, you can get liquid culture online and grow it on agar as well. You can cut a wedge of the culture and drop it into the grain jar.
Step 2: Making Grain Spawn
Your culture is added to sterilized grain (rye, wheat, millet, or even popcorn). Your grain spawn may have some flowering which can be shaken up and added to your substrate. Some growers worry when they see the flowering, but it is not at all a problem.
Step 3: Adding Grain Spawn To Substrate
Indoors, I recommend using a substrate of hardwood sawdust and some bran. The combination of the two produces larger fruit and greater yield. For every five-pound block, use roughly five cups of hardwood fuel pellets, one and a quarter cups of wheat bran, and about 48 ounces of water (1.4L). Mix the ingredients and put them into a pressure cooker for two and a half hours at 15 psi.
Step 4: Inoculate and Colonize
Once you’ve consolidated your substrate with the grain spawn, the mycelium will work through it, and you’ll see feathery flowering throughout your grow bag. You’ll know it’s fully colonized when there are small flowering sprouts on the top of the substrate. Now, fold the top of the bag around the growing block, and feel free to tape or rubber band the bag closed.
Step 5: Cut and Grow
Flip your bag over to reveal the side without the top, and cut a couple of X-shapes into the front of the bag. Some types of mushrooms do well with a top-fruiting method, but Lion’s Mane mushrooms are better with the technique I mentioned. In a few days, you’ll see your mushrooms popping through. Spray! Spray! Extremely important to spray twice a day every day! Lion’s Mane enjoys it a bit cooler, so if you can grow at a temperature of approximately 65°-75°F and a humidity of about 90-95%, it’s very beneficial. Since Lion’s Mane are very flexible, they will grow pretty well in most conditions. I’m sure you’re probably tired of reading this, but remember to SPRAY your mushrooms!
Step 6: Harvest Time
In a few weeks, your Lion’s Mane will be ready to harvest. If the flowers are on the smoother side, you may want to wait to pick these until they have long teeth. If you prefer your Lion’s Mane on the denser side then, of course, you can harvest sooner.
Now for the best part of the journey, to reap what you have sown! You can choose whatever method makes you happy to harvest your beautiful fruit. One way is to slide your hand underneath the fruit and twist it off of the bag. If you prefer, you can use your knife and cut the fruit off the kit.
Step 7: Not The End
Have no fear because your journey with your Lion’s Mane doesn’t end here. Return the bag to your favorite growing area, and they’ll flower, at least, once more. Just like the first time, remember to SPRAY!
Before You Go
Now that your harvest is in, you can find some fun recipes and enjoy the delectable flavor of your Lion’s Mane. Savor them sliced, baked, breaded, fried, or my favorite dipped in garlic butter. Experimenting with different ways to devour this mushroom fave will be as much fun as growing them; there’s even Lion’s Mane coffee.
The benefits of this easy-growing and delicious fruit are increased by the fun and reward of growing them from start to finish. If you don’t want to go back to the culture stage, box and bag kits are available. Whatever choice you make, the important thing is to relish this engaging process.
I hope you’ve enjoyed taking this Lion’s Mane adventure with me. Let me know if you found the instructions helpful, and if you did, please feel free to share. It’s been a pleasure for me to join in the excitement of watching the beauty of nature. Everyone in the family can be exposed to a process of life and what’s needed to live and grow. It’s a great lesson to share with those we love, and in the world today, it’s a perfect message to spread. Thanks for pausing to learn and grow with me!