Growing Lion's Mane
Without Hardwood

Learn How To Grow Lion's Mane Using Equine Mushroom Mix

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Lion's Mane & Hardwood

Lion's mane mushroom

Lion’s mane (hericium erinaceus) is a hardwood loving fungi that is considered to perform at it its best when grown on a substrate containing hardwood. 

Master’s mix is the most commonly used substrate for cultivating lion’s mane. It’s a highly supplemented hardwood substrate mix which is sterilised before being inoculated with lion’s mane grain spawn following aseptic technique. 

In this guide we demonstrate the preparation of Equine Mushroom Mix, an alternative substrate free of hardwood that can be used to effectively grow lion’s mane & other hardwood loving species of fungi.

Equine Mushroom Mix

Equine Mushroom Mix is a highly supplemented substrate that can be used to grow a wide range of fungi like oyster mushrooms & lion’s mane.

Equine mushroom  mix can be made without hardwood. Hardwood pellets can often be in short supply or expensive depending on the location. This alternative substrate utilises equine maintenance mix containing equine forage, millrun & added vitamins & minerals.

This substrate mixture appears to colonise faster than the standard hardwood substrate while producing extra large fruits.

We will continue to experiment to validate its use for cultivating enoki, shiitake & chestnut mushrooms.

Equine Maintenance Mix

Health Benefits Of Lion's Mane

Lion’s mane is being investigated because of it’s potential to treat a number of conditions primarily involving neuroregeneration. Studies have shown it to be effective in treating the following.

  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Ischemic Stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Protection against depressive symptoms
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Presbycusis
  • Learn more here

What You'll Need

In this tutorial we will be listing the quantities to produce 1 x 2.5 kilogram fruiting block. The substrate should weigh 2.3 kilograms with an additional 200 grams of grain spawn. 

Step 1. Weight Dry Ingredients

Using kitchen scales weigh 450 grams of each equine maintenance mix pellets & soy hulls and add to a filter patch grow bag. 

Moisture content in large batches can vary greatly if not thoroughly mixed just prior to packing. For this reason it’s recommended to weigh and pack each bag individually to ensure that the moisture content remains consistent in each bag.

Step 2. Hydrate Substrate

Shake dry ingredients to ensure that they are mixed well before adding water.

Weigh 1.4 kg (L) of water and add to the dry ingredients.

Type b mushroom grow bag fold

Step 3. Fold Grow Bags

The grow bags must be folded for sterilisation. Filter patch grow bags are self sealing under pressure and do not need to be sealed before sterilising when folded correctly.

The substrate must be compressed to expel as much air as possible before folding over the long edge and opening of the bag with a rolling action.

Step 4. Sterilise & Inoculate

The prepared equine mushroom mix can be sterilised & inoculated as per the standard supplemented fruiting block procedure.

Learn more about sterilising and inoculating supplemented hardwood substrates in the link below.

Well Colonised Lion's Mane Grain Spawn

Lion's Mane Spawn

Can I Use An Instapot?

It’s not essential to have access to a stove-top pressure cooker or canner. An instapot or electric bench-top pressure cooker can be used instead. 

An instapot will often only reach approximately 7 – 8 PSI and for this reason sterilisation times for preparing grain spawn may need to be extended by 30 minutes.

A typical instapot will fit 4 spawning jars per cycle.

Aseptic Technique

It’s important to adhere to aseptic technique when inoculating sterile media. Sterilised media is extremely prone to contamination.

Only objects that have been flame sterilised may make contact with the sterile media or grain spawn.

Alcohol can be used to sanatise and clean surfaces of micro-particles but is not suitable for sterilisation.

A face mask should be worn at all times. All work should be undertaken with a laminar flow hood when possible. In the absence of a flow hood a smaller enclosed space with minimal airflow, such as a bathroom may be used with varied results.


Colonised Base Of Lion's Mane Fruiting Block


Visibly White Primordia Forming On Lion's Mane Fruiting Block

When Is Lion's Mane Fully Colonised?

Lion’s mane mycelium is very fine in comparison to other commonly grown gourmet mushrooms like oyster mushrooms. It can sometimes be difficult to identify when lion’s mane is fully colonised. 

The grow kit will begin to feel firmer and slightly lighten in colour as it colonises. The mycelium will remain largely transparent with large amounts of dark substrate showing through, this is often in relation to the concentration gradient of supplementation in the bulk substrate.

The lion’s mane mycelium will only become visibly white as it begins to knot and form primordia. This will tend to occur where the substrate makes most contact with fresh air.

Lion's Mane Grain Spawn

Grain spawn is a little known secret weapon of the world of mushroom cultivation. It’s made from sterilised grains that have been inoculated with a live mycelium culture.

Grain spawn contains a lot of energy for the mycelium to consume. It’s a bit like rocket fuel for mushrooms. Once it’s added to your substrate it takes off like wild fire. 

Mother Nature works her magic using spores but in a controlled environment you need to tip the scales in your favour by using clean high-quality grain spawn so you are doing your best to ensure success. 

Well Colonised Lion's Mane Grain Spawn
Lion's Mane Mushroom Pakora Vegan Recipe

Lion's Mane Ready To Grow Kit

Learn to grow your own mushrooms with one of our ready to fruit mushroom grow kits. 

Our kits consist of supplement hardwood which has been inoculated under laboratory conditions with a live mycelium culture.

Learn more about using a mushroom grow kit with our Step By Step Guide.


View Our Range Of Grain Spawn

Who We Are

We’re a small scale producer of gourmet mushroom grain spawn and ready to grow kits located in South East Queensland. We’re passionate about fungi and we love sharing our obsession with the world.

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