How To Grow
Lion's Mane

Step By Step Guide To Growing Lion's Mane

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How To Grow Lion's Mane

Lion’s mane (hericium erinaceus) is a hardwood loving fungi that performs 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.

Soy hulls for mushroom growing

What You'll Need

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

  • Pressure Cooker (Stove-top or electric)
  • Mushroom Grow Bags
  • Scales
  • 450 grams Soy Hulls
  • 450 grams Hardwood Fuel Pellets (HWFP)
  • 1.4 Litres Water
  • Torch
  • Metal Spoon
  • Alchohol (Isopropyl or Methylated Spirits)
  • Lion’s Mane Grain Spawn

Step 1. Prepare The Substrate

For this project we will be using masters’ mix substrate. It is highly nutritious and prone to contamination. For this reason it must be sterilised. Sterilised substrates must be inoculated using aseptic technique.

The Presto 23 Quart Pressure Cooker

Once I decided to get serious about mushroom growing I invested in this Presto 23 Quart Pressure Cooker. It’s got plenty of space to sterilise up to 4 large mushroom grow bags or 8 smaller ones at a time. It’s an absolute game-changer.

Having the freedom to produce your own grain spawn, liquid culture and sterilised substrates opens up a whole new world of mushroom growing.

Step 2. Sterilise The Substrate

Pack the filled and folded grow bags into the pressure cooker. Add water and sterilise for 90 minutes at 15PSI. 

Watch our video guide on folding mushroom grow bags for the pressure cooker.

23 qt presto

Step 3. Let It Cool

It’s important to allow the pressure cooker to cool down before opening. Any drastic changes in temperature can cause the mushroom grow bags to burst. Watch our video on how to load a pressure cooker to avoid warped and burst grow bags.

Step 4. Inoculate With Grain Spawn

Now we are ready to inoculate the sterilised fruiting block with grain spawn. It’s important to remember that the sterilised block has no microbiome therefore making it extremely susceptible to contamination. Additionally it is heavily supplemented. For both of these reasons it’s important to inoculate the fruiting block using aseptic technique. 

I strongly recommend watching some videos on YouTube about aseptic technique. Take all precautions where possible to avoid contamination. Working in an area with minimal air flow can greatly reduce your risk of contamination. 

We use a standard 10% spawn rate for inoculation. Greater spawn rates will result in faster colonisation and a lesser risk of contamination.

Step 5. Seal The Grow Bag

Immediately seal the grow bag after inoculating to avoid contamination. Use a zip-tie in the absence of an impulse sealer. Shake the bag to thoroughly and evenly incorporate the grain spawn.

Step 6. Allow To Colonise

Store the fruiting blocks at room temperature. During the next 14 – 21 days the fruiting blocks will colonise and eventually begin to form primordia. Lion’s mane mycelium can be very fine and difficult to see.  

Lion's Mane Mushroom Pakora Vegan Recipe

Step 7. Open The Fruiting Block

It’s time to cut open the fruiting block pnce feels firm and you can see primordia beginning to form. Cut the top of the bag and expell all air. Use tape to hold the bag down firmly. 

As the mushrooms grow they will seek fresh air. By eliminating the air from within the bag we can encourage the mushrooms to grow outwards towards fresh air to form large, healthy caps.

Make an incision in the bag near where the mycelium appears to be growing thickly. 

Step 8. Store In Fruiting Conditions

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.

Lion's Mane Mushroom Pakora Vegan Recipe

Step 9. Harvest & Enjoy

Once your mushroom appears to have stopped growing it’s ready to harvest. Lion’s mane can be quite slow taking up to two weeks to produce a fruiting body. It can be picked at different stages of maturity for a different 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. 

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. 

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Make Spawn With Sterilised Grain Bags

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.

Lion's Mane Grow Kits

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.

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Who We Are

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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