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. It’ll take off like wildfire once added to your bulk substrate.
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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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 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.
Hardwood is required for the cultivation of the lion’s mane mushroom. Although this species may demonstrate some growth on straw & mulch, it will not produce fruits unless grown on hardwood. For this we recommend using hardwood pellets or sawdust.
Without some form of supplementation the mycelium may struggle to fully colonise the substrate. For this reason heavily supplemented, sterilised substrates are commonly used for growing lion’s mane, like masters’ mix.
In the absence of a flow hood it is recommended to use bulk substrate recipes which have less supplementation to minimise the risk of contamination. Results with sterilised substrates will vary greatly when used without a flow hood.
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.
Lion’s mane mycelium is much finer and less opaque than other commonly grown gourmet fungal species.
The mycelium will often thicken and develop an opaque, white layer where it makes most contact with fresh air. This is due to the formation of primordia, this layer of primordia can be removed prior to using the grain spawn.
Maturing grain spawn will often produce yellow, liquid metabolites which are a natural byproduct of the mycelium.
Due to the fine structure of lion’s mane mycelium recently colonised grain spawn will often appear underdeveloped after being shaken, however the grains will remain inoculated and ready for use.
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.
Lion’s mane will form firm, round, white protuberances called primordia, or pins when temperatures are below 22 degrees Celsius.
Lion’s mane will generally begin forming primordia within the humid conditions of the sealed bag if left unattended. The primordia can be released and exposed to fresh air and humidity for it to develop into a fruiting body or mushroom.
Ensure that the fruiting block is exposed to humidity over 80% with temperatures below 22 degrees Celsius if pinning not occur.
Lion’s mane will fruit best when stored at temperatures between 15 – 25 degrees Celsius, although it will tolerate fluctuations outside these parameters.
Maintain humidity over 80% and slowly increase fresh air if the fruiting body appears to be stretching in search of fresh air rather than forming round, bulbous, spined fruits.
Learn to grow your own mushrooms with one of our ready to fruit mushroom grow kits.
Our kits consist of supplemented 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.
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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