Growing Lion's Mane
Hericium erinaceus, also known as lion’s mane, monkey head or even pompom mushroom amongst other common names is one of a number of hericium species that are commonly cultivated and eaten.
Hericium erinaceus has recently garnered a lot of attention due to its potential therapeutic uses. A number of studies focusing on the mushroom’s effect on nerve growth factor have been the source of great interest demonstrating the potential for use to treat degenerative brain disorders such as Parkinsons, Alzheimers, Dementia and ALS. More research is yet to come to confirm its efficacy in in-vivo human studies.
Lion’s mane is valued for its unique webbed structure which when cooked results in a fibrous, meat-like texture. It’s mild umami flavour resembles that of chicken or lobster making it a wonderfully versatile meat substitute.
Lion’s mane is a hardwood loving mushroom. It’s commonly cultivated in a commercial context in mushroom grow bags using a supplemented hardwood substrate made from sawdust or hardwood fuel pellets. It can be supplemented to encourage faster and complete colonisation by adding 10 – 20% wheat bran or alfalfa. Alternatively you can use a sterilised substrate like masters’ mix which contain 50% soy hulls.
This whimsical looking fungi is surprisingly easy to cultivate at home. In our step by step guide we demonstrate how to cultivate lion’s mane for a fraction of the price.
Humidity can be managed through a diligent misting and fanning regime, however the introduction of a humidifier and humidity controller can help automate the process and ensure consistency.
Adding a 6L humidifier and controller to a greenhouse with the addition of a USB fan is a quick and easy way to make a low cost fruiting chamber that delivers excellent results.
Mushrooms require humidity to grow. We recommend using a mini-greenhouse. Spraying the inside walls of the greenhouse will help raise humidity. A cheap humidifier can used to automate the process.
It’s important to ensure that the grow kit has fresh air exchange. Mushrooms produce carbon dioxide and will grow long and leggy if they require more oxygen.
Check the product pages for species specific requirements.
Alternatively you can build a Shotgun Fruiting Chamber (SGFC) from a few common items found easily in your local hardware store.
Lion’s mane may be generally grow slower than oyster mushroom species but colonisation times are greatly increased by using a supplemented substrate. Full colonisation may occur within 10 – 14 days with primordia often developing within the bag.
The mycelium may appear fine and difficult to identify.
Primordia forms best at temperatures between 10 – 15 degrees. Results may vary outside this temperature range.
Lion’s mane will generally initiate pinning within the grow bag without any intervention. Select a healthy looking pin set and create an opening to fruit from.
Cold shocking the sealed lion’s mane fruiting block in the fridge or keeping it in an air conditioned room may assist in triggering the formation of primordia.
Fruit lion’s mane mushroom between 15 – 20 degrees Celsius for best yields, however it will fruit at temperatures up to 25 – 28 degrees with sufficient humidity once pin sets are well formed. Maintain humidity over 90%. Little fresh air exchange is required in comparison to oyster mushroom species.
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.
Each sterilised grain spawn bag has been carefully prepared by hydrating whole oats in a gypsum bath for 24 hours before sterilisation.
The bag itself features a 0.2 micron filter patch to facilitate fresh air exchange without the contents becoming contaminated.
Additionally, the self healing injection port allows the user to simply inoculate the grain using a liquid culture syringe with minimal risk of contamination.
Sterilised grain spawn bags make it possible to produce your own mushroom grain spawn without the use of a pressure cooker.
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.
I’m Luke and I’m mad about mushrooms. I operate a small scale family run business located 40 minutes west of Brisbane. We’re passionate about fungi and we look forwarding to sharing our experiences with you.
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