How To Grow Lion's Mane
With Masters' Mix
What Is Lion's Mane?
Lion’s mane (hericium erinaceus) is a hardwood loving fungi that is considered to perform at it its best when grown on masters’ mix. Master’s mix is 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 the substrate, inoculating the substrate with grain spawn, incubation of the fruiting block and how to fruit and harvest the final product.
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.
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What You'll Need
In this tutorial we will be listing the quantities to produce 1 2.5 kilogram fruiting block.
The substrate will weigh 2.3 kilograms which will be inoculated with an additional 200 grams of grain spawn.
Step 1. Prepare Substrate
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. Fold Grow Bags For Sterilisation
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.
Learn how we fold mushroom grow bags in the link below.
Step 3. Sterilise Grow Bags
The folded grow bags packed with substrate must be loaded into the pressure cooker and sterilised for a minimum of 90 minutes at 15PSI.
Allow the pressure cooker to depressurise without intervention. Do not open until cool.
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Step 4. Inoculate With Grain Spawn
Once the grow bag has cooled down it can inoculated with grain spawn. We will be adding approximately 200 grams of grain spawn per 2.3 kg grow bag.
Lion’s mane grain spawn is very fine and can sometimes appear immature after being shaken. Despite appearances each individual grain remains colonised and viable.
It’s important to inoculate each grow bag while adhering to 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.
Step 5. Seal Bag & Wait
The inoculated filter patch grow bag needs to be sealed immediately after inoculation to prevent the entrance of competing pathogens like yeast & mould. An impulse sealer can be used to quickly and securely seal grow bags. Alternatively zip-ties or grow bag clips can be used.
The fruiting block can be stored at room temperature & out of direct sunlight for 14 – 21 days or until fully colonised.
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.
Step 6. Opening The Grow Bag
The lion’s mane fruiting block can be opened once fully colonised. As much air as possible should be removed from the grow bag upon opening. The grow bag can be folded tight against the fruiting block and taped in place.
We recommend making a small incision no longer than 5 cm for fruiting. Primordia may form in the humid space between the bag and substrate however it will abort due to a lack of space and fresh air exchange. This will ensure that the nutrition is spent forming a larger fruiting body.
For first time growers it can be easiest to allow primordia to form within the bag prior to opening to expose the candidate to the required fresh air and humidity.
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Step 7. Store In A Fruiting Chamber
Now it’s time to place your lion’s mane in a greenhouse or fruiting chamber. It’s common practice to use a mini-greenhouse or large plastic crate to assist in creating a humid micro-climate. If you’re short on space we recommend making a shotgun fruiting chamber (SGFC) using a plastic crate and perlite.
Mist the walls of your greenhouse at least twice daily to increase humidity. If the mushroom appears to be growing long and leggy try increasing the amount of fresh air it receives. Yellowing is usually the result of low humidity.
Using A Humidifier
Keeping mushrooms humid is key to ensuring consistent yields. A humidifier will ensure that the fruiting chamber has ample humidity to ensure consistently impressive yields. Learn more about maintaining humidity in our online guide.
Step 8. Harvest & Enjoy
The mushroom is considered fully mature when it stops growing larger and the spines grow longer. This may take between 2 – 3 weeks. It can be picked at different stages of maturity for a different texture. Younger lion’s mane mushrooms have a firmer and denser texture.
The fibrous structure of lion’s mane makes it the perfect candidate as a meat-like textured substitute in cooking. It can be cooked as steaks, in soups or even battered and fried.