When people start using Lion's mane mushrooms, they often prefer turning the raw mushroom into a family meal. However, what do you do when you have the best Lion's Mane mushroom recipes but lack the wild mushrooms to use in the recipes?
Raw Lion's mane mushrooms are rarely sold at the grocery store. And if you are lucky to find raw Hericium Erinaceus on sale, you will be hard-pressed to find it fresh. So, does this mean that you'll need to learn how to grow it indoors yourself? Umm, how?
Sometimes, you may need to grow your Lion's Mane at home. For this reason, we will show you how to grow Lion's Mane.Read on to learn everything there is to know about growing your own Lion's mane mushrooms.
Is It Possible To Grow Lion's Mane?
Lion's mane mushroom, also known as Hericium Erinaceus or yamabushitake, is an edible mushroom with numerous culinary uses and potent medicinal properties. Numerous peer-reviewed studies have shown encouraging evidence of this fuzzy-looking mushroom's positive health impact(1). This has sparked an explosion of Lion's mane powders and extracts and an array of dishes featuring the fungi at fine restaurants.
The surge in the popularity of Lion's mane mushrooms has made them exclusive and expensive for the average person. And unless you are a forager, getting your hands on wild mushrooms can be pretty challenging.
Since you're not likely to find Lion's Mane at your local grocery store, how can you get a fresh supply?
As noted above, if you cannot access Lion's mane mycelium and fruiting body in the grocery store, you may have to grow the mushroom at home.
Before you google "lion's mane how to grow" or "lions mane grow," we'd tell you to relax!
Growing Lion's mane mushroom is not only easy and fun but is also insanely rewarding. The process produces huge, delectable fruiting bodies that can be an excellent addition to any meal with the bonus of their incredible health benefits!
Read More: Learn about the health benefits of Lion's mane.
What's more: you can grow your own Lion's mane mushroom in your backyard! You do not have to worry about space for cultivating delicious mushrooms.
There are several techniques to get you started on growing Lion's mane mushrooms. You can start with a kit or a commercially made lion's mane grain spawn. And if you want more hands-on experience, you can grow Lion's mane mushroom from scratch.
Regardless of the technique, once the mushrooms have fully developed, you can harvest Lion's mane mushrooms and enjoy preparing a nice meal in your home. When it is time to harvest the fresh Lion's mane mushrooms, cut them as close to the growing bag as possible and eat them the same day for the best results.
Here we will talk about the basics: How to grow lion mane mushrooms and how long do Lion's mane mushrooms take to grow. Get some additional tips and insider secrets to growing this powerful nootropic mushroom!
Time to get your tools ready!
How To Grow Lion's Mane?
If you are a newbie, the easiest way to grow Lion's mane mushrooms is using a grower's kit. The Lion's mane grow kit makes things much more accessible by eliminating the need for inoculation, incubation, and having to worry about the proper humidity and airflow to ensure the mushrooms grow.
You can, however, use a commercially made spawn to create a more authentic DIY experience. The process does require a little more care and expertise (as well as a few more tools!), but the results are substantially better. You will also have the satisfaction of seeing mycelia in action.
But if you want to get your hands dirty, you can make your spawn starting from a pure culture on agar or spore prints on agar. This requires lots of equipment and a sterile environment. Using pure culture gives you the full benefit of understanding how to grow one of the best mushrooms for brain health from the start to the end.
Let's see how to do each of these.
Method 1: Growing Lion's Mane From A Kit
Using a mushroom growing kit is the best option for people who are new to the hobby or do not want to get too deep into the art of growing mushrooms. Lion's mane mushroom growing kits have everything you need to start, and most of the hard work has already been done for you.
This method works exceptionally well for homeowners who want to grow Lion's mane indoors. While other methods may force you to take advantage of logs growing Lion's mane, commonly cultivated mushrooms grow kit can help you avoid the hassle of using logs.
The kits used to grow mushrooms either consist of a fully colonized mushroom fruiting block or spawn. Once you open the package with a sharp knife, you mix the mushroom fruiting spawn with a substrate.
They also come with grow bags as well as detailed instructions. New people who want to grow lions mane often forget that their mushrooms will need fresh air at some point—this is something you should avoid as it can affect the growth of your mushrooms.
You can buy mushroom growing kits from local farmers' markets or online.
Read More: Learn what to look for when buying Lion's mane.
The instructions on the mushroom growing kit may differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, but all you need to do is follow them. After a while, Lion's mane mushroom will naturally start to form through the holes in the mushroom growing bags. If you continue following the instructions, growing large mushrooms will be easy.
An additional tip to ensure better growth: fan in lots of fresh air and mist inside the bag with a spray bottle a few times a day. The fresh air exchange when the mushroom is growing is essential for the growth of healthy mushrooms.
To make this much better, build a small shotgun fruiting chamber for the baby mushrooms. You can also take your time to ensure the medicinal mushroom mycelium has enough time to grow to its biggest size.
Method 2: A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Spawn Your Own Mushroom Indoors
If you have experience with mushroom cultivation, start from Lion's mane spawn. While growing Lion's mane medicinal mushrooms is a little bit complicated when spawning your own, it gives more satisfaction to seasoned mushroom growers.
To use this method, get high-quality Lion's Mane spawn. You then mix the spawn with a suitable substrate.
Here are some of the best types of substrates to grow Lion's Mane on:
- Sterilized straw (although this might only yield outstanding results for particular strains that have been specifically adapted to straw).
- Hardwood sawdust amended with bran.
- A Master's mix of 50-50 soy hulls and hardwood sawdust hydrated to 60%. For this substrate, the yield is slightly higher, and the shelf life is marginally better.
You may need to try out each of them before finding the one that works best for you, as the different types of substrates will yield different amounts of mushrooms.
Once the spawn has been inoculated, a fruiting block should be fully colonized within two weeks. Lion's mane mushroom fruits easily. That is why you may start to see small fruits forming in the mushroom growing bags before you expose them to fruiting conditions.
Bring the block to the fruiting area and cut little "x's" where the fruits are already growing. The pins will continue to develop, forming large mushrooms outside the bag.
It is worth noting that when growing your own mushrooms, starting with the spawn, you do not have to wait too long before you can use the mature Lion's mane mushrooms before bed to improve your sleep.
Pins (the first stages of a Lion's mane mushroom) appear two to three days after being fully colonized and placed in the fruiting chamber. The Lion's mane continues to grow and is ready to harvest in 7-14 days, depending on temperature.
Below, we will look deeper into the steps you need to follow when spawning Lion's mane indoors.
Step 1: Get The Supplies
When it comes to growing Lion's mane indoors, you will need the following materials and equipment:
- Hardwood sawdust (or hardwood fuel pellets or wood chips)
- Wheat bran (or oat bran)
- Growing bag (if you do not have a bag for growing lions mane mushrooms, you can use containers or buckets)
- Lion's mane spawn
- Pressure cooker
- Bowl or bucket
- Measuring cup
Step 2: Prepare Your Substrate
The goal of using a substrate when growing Lion's mane mushrooms is to ensure the Lion's mane mushroom mycelium has access to enough hydration and a nutrient-dense food source.
While the hardwood pellets do not need to be sterilized by heat, adding oat or wheat bran makes sterilizing necessary.
To make your 5-pound substrate block, you will need the following:
- Six cups of water
- 1.25 cups of bran
- 5 cups of your hardwood pellets
Combine your water and pellets in a bowl or bucket and give it 30 minutes to soak. Using warm water speeds up the process of breaking apart the pellets to form sawdust. Next, add your bran to your sawdust and mix to ensure even distribution.
Ensure that only a few drops come out when you squeeze the mixture. If too much water drips out, the mix is overly wet. If no water comes out and your substrate cannot stay intact in your hand, you will need to add extra water.
Step 3: Sterilize Your Substrate
Next, place the ready substrate in a bag for growing mushrooms and expel air. Fold the bag by following the presented instructions.
Next, sterilize the substrate for 2.5 hours at 15 psi using a pressure cooker. Leave the substrate to cool down for 8 hours before moving to step 4.
Step 4: Inoculate The Substrate
The next step on how to grow lions mane mushrooms is to add your mushroom spawn to the mushroom cultivation bag with the prepared substrate. Before adding the spawn to the sterilized bags, clean all surfaces to avoid contamination.
Add your Lion's mane mushrooms spawn at a 5 percent spawn rate to your wet substrate for each bag. Mix and close the bag's top with a rubber band.
Step 5: Incubate Your Inoculated Substrate
Store your closed bag in a dark, warm area (20 to 24 degrees Celsius) and allow it to incubate. The Lion's mane spawn grows and spreads throughout the bag, colonizing your substrate. This process takes about 2 to 3 weeks.
Step 6: Create Fruiting Conditions
After the colonization, your next step will involve putting your substrate in fruiting conditions. This involves using a sharp knife to cut holes in the bag to expose Lion's mane mycelium to fresh air. Also, be sure to put your bags in a humid condition.
Continuously mist your bags several times daily to keep them healthy and moist. After 2 to 3 days, pinheads will form on your substrate. After this, your mushrooms will mature in another two weeks.
Method 3: A Step-by-Step Guide On Growing Lion's Mane Mushrooms On Logs Outdoors
If you do not have room in your house to grow Lion's mane mushrooms, you can always take mushroom cultivation outdoors. Below, we will guide you in growing lions mane mushroom outdoors in logs.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
Compared to using a grow kit or starting with the spawn, growing Lion's mane from scratch does require more supplies. Below, we will look at the materials and equipment you will need.
Lion's mane performs well in several hardwoods, including birch, maple, and elm. Ensure your logs have a diameter between 3 and 10 inches—the bigger the diameter, the bigger your mushrooms.
Get Spawn Plugs
It's effortless to get spawn plugs on the internet. However, it would help if you did the math to determine the total number you need before you do.
A 4-foot log will need 30 to 50 plugs for total coverage. Based on this, you should be able to calculate the number of pins you need.
After getting your hardwood logs and spawn plugs, you will also need to get the following materials:
- Lion's mane sawdust spawn
- Sealing wax
- Hardwood logs
You will need the following gear to grow your Lion's mane on logs starting with the spawn:
- A baster or small paintbrush
- A hammer
- A drill
Step 2: Inoculate Your Logs
Since you are not using a grow bag with inoculated materials, you first need to inoculate your logs. To get started, drill a row of one-inch-deep holes, leaving 6 inches between them. Stagger these holes, initiating the next row approximately 2.5 inches from your initial.
After drilling the holes in the log, the next step is to insert the spawn plugs into the holes. Tap your plug spawn dowels gently with the hammer to ensure they are perfectly inserted into the hole—ensure the plugs are below the bark surface and flush with the log's wood. Using your sealing wax, seal the plugged holes to protect your mycelium growth.
Step 3: Incubate Your Logs
When incubating your oak logs, they must sit under the shade. Stack them in a way that allows as much air as possible. Also, ensure the logs from hardwood trees have access to enough humidity.
Water your logs two times per week for about ten minutes. This will help you maintain an ideal level of moisture in them. If the logs dry out, Lion's mane mycelium will die.
It generally takes one to two years after the inoculation for the logs to produce their first harvest. While this might seem like a long time, Lion's mane from the logs will be more beneficial because they will have more bioactive ingredients than those grown in limited growing bags.
Step 4: Initiate The Fruiting
About 12 to 18 months after the inoculation, start watching the logs to see if the commercially made spawn in the spawn plugs has started showing signs of mushroom growth. If you do not see any signs of mushrooms growing, consider trying to initiate the process by submerging the logs in cold water for 12 hours—this process is known as shocking.
The best time to shock your logs is in the fall and spring, when the temperatures are most favorable for mushroom growth. Once the mushrooms appear on your log, it will take two to three weeks for the mushrooms to be ready for harvest.
You can then enjoy Lion's mane for weight loss and to improve sleep. You can also use the mushrooms to enhance your mood and fight depression.
Method 4: Growing Lion's Mane From Scratch
This process is complicated but can offer you more satisfaction knowing that you grew your Lion's mane from scratch.
Start with a culture on agar. Liquid culture is excellent, but a culture on agar is better for long-term storage.
Grow the culture on agar, make grain spawn, and add it to a bulk substrate and fruit. As long as your culture is healthy, you should be able to grow fresh Lion's mane anytime you want.
Harvesting Lion's Mane Mushrooms
After your mushrooms are ready, you must cut the "ball" off. Using a sharp knife, go as close as possible to the base of the mushroom, taking care not to damage the mushroom's fruiting body.
Handle the fruiting delicately to avoid bruising it. If you are not using it immediately, store it in the fridge.
Read More: See how using fresh Lion's mane fights depression.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Lion's Mane?
How long Lion's mane takes to grow depends on the method you use. However,when the mushrooms start showing signs of growth, it takes about 2 to 3 weeks for them to mature and be ready for use in the kitchen.
Can I Grow Lion's Mane At Home?
You can quickly grow Lion's mane mushroom at home using a DIY kit or a commercially available spawn.
And if you want to get into it, start from scratch using a culture. Depending on your skill and experience, choose a suitable approach.
Also, you may want to check on how soon you need the mature mushrooms. For example, if you need to useLion's mane for anxiety as soon as possible, you may want to use the DIY kit as the mushrooms take less time to mature.
There are several methods of growing Lion's mane mushrooms. If you are starting your mushroom-growing journey, begin with a home-grow kit.
For a more hands-on experience, use a commercially available spawn. And for the ultimate involvement, grow Lion's mane from scratch!
Now that you know how to grow Lion's mane mushrooms, grab a few tools and some fresh wood, and voila! You're all set!
Have you tried growing Lion's mane mushrooms at home? What was your experience? Let us know your experience in the comments.
- Chemistry, Nutrition, and Health-Promoting Properties of Hericium erinaceus (Lion's Mane) Mushroom Fruiting Bodies and Mycelia and Their Bioactive Compounds, (1)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26244378/