Find out why you should try growing Lion’s Mane mushrooms on logs with this simple guide.
In the past years, more and more people had been growing Lion’s Mane mushrooms on logs. Though it is a bit of a challenge if you’re new to Fungiculture, growing Lion’s Mane mushrooms on logs is not hard. With this guide, it’ll be a breeze.
What is a Lion’s Mane Mushroom?
Lion’s Mane Mushroom, as the name suggests, looks like well… a lion’s mane. Its scientific name is Hericium erinaceus. This white shaggy mushroom is both used in culinary dishes and medicine in Asia.
There are many ways to eat Lion’s Mane mushroom. You can eat them raw or cooked. If you wish, you can also have them dried before cooking. It is also powdered to mix in a mushroom coffee or tea. Its extract is usually sold as a food supplement or medicine.
Some say that Lion’s Mane tastes like chicken at first bite. But, if you keep eating it, you’ll notice its seafood taste. Some say it tastes like crab or lobster. But whatever it is, it still tastes delicious. It is no wonder why people are growing Lion’s Mane mushrooms on logs.
Why Grow Lion’s Mane Mushroom?
In this section, we are going to learn why growing Lion’s Mane mushrooms on logs is a good idea. We need to know the advantages we will get. After all, growing Lion’s Mane mushrooms on logs is not free. You’ll not only invest money but also time and effort.
Reason 1 – They Are Very Rare
If you love mushroom foraging, you know that finding a Lion’s Mane in the woods is like finding a treasure chest. Not only is it hard. But it is also a very rare find. Though there are people who have been growing Lion’s Mane mushrooms on logs, it is still uncommon. Only a few companies cultivate them. So if you are growing Lion’s Mane mushrooms on logs at home, you’ll have your own supply of a very rare fungus.
Reason 2 – They Are Very Healthy
When it comes to healthiness, Lion’s mane has a lot on its list. It is one of the “Good for the Brain Mushroom”. This fungus can fight Dementia and other nervous system wounds. It can also boost the immune system and relieve anxiety and depression. Lion’s mane also shows promising effects on ulcer, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. So many health benefits, right?
Reason 3 – They Are Very Expensive
Lion’s Mane is one of the most expensive mushrooms out there. Its price can range somewhere around $8 to $36 for a pound. The reason for its expensiveness is because of its rarity. Plus, there is a huge demand for this fungus. So it is no surprise that there are people who are growing Lion’s Mane mushrooms on their own.
Reason 4 – You’ll Have Years of Supply
Lion’s Mane isn’t a fast-growing log crop. It will take up to 2 years before they thrive on the log. But once that’s out of the way, the log can keep bearing mushrooms for around 6 years. So if you are thinking of growing Lion’s Mane mushrooms on logs, do it now. Then, just keep harvesting them after 2 years.
Growing Lion’s Mane Mushrooms On Logs
Now that we have refueled your desire in growing Lion’s Mane mushrooms on logs. Let’s discuss how to grow them. If you are familiar with Fungiculture, you’ll notice some of the steps are similar when growing other mushroom species. But still, pay attention because there are some important differences.
Growing Lion’s Mane Mushrooms On Logs: Picking a Log
Just like growing any other mushroom, you’ll need a substrate. In the case of the Lion’s Mane mushroom, you’ll need hardwood. Lion’s mane is not picky with the wood substrate. But, there are specific wood types to use depending on how long you’ll be producing them.
If you are aiming for long-term production, pick logs from oak chestnut, black walnut, or elm trees. If you planned for short-term, wood from poplar, tulip, and willow trees will do.
It is also good to take note of the log’s age. Lion’s mane can’t grow on wood that has already been infested by another fungus. It also doesn’t thrive well with greeny logs. Freshly cut branches or trees during the Winter season are the most suitable. When it comes to size, just pick the one that you can easily move around and maintain.
Growing Lion’s Mane Mushrooms On Logs: Drying the Log
Now that you have picked your log. The next thing to do is to dry your log. Your log only needs 40% moisture. That is why you need to dry your log. All you have to do is place the log on a raised surface for 1-3 months. Make sure to keep them away from places that may get them contaminated.
Once the log is dry, you can now inoculate them. This is also a perfect time to buy a Lion’s mane spawn. Usually, you can buy this online. You can just buy one spawn plug. But if you want to maximize the log, you can inoculate 10 spawn plugs in one log.
Growing Lion’s Mane Mushrooms On Logs: Inoculating the Log
If you have the spawn, now all you have to do is inoculate them in the log. But before that, you’ll need to prepare the following inoculation tools.
Once that is now prepared, it’s time to inoculate the spawn plugs. First, you need to drill rows of holes in the logs. You can use measuring tools if you can’t drill in a straight line. While you do that, melt the wax in a double boiler. Using the candy thermometer, make sure the temperature doesn’t exceed 212°F. Any hotter than that can kill the spawn.
Next, drill more holes 1 ¼ inch deep. The holes should be 8-inches apart. You should also alternate the starting point of the holes from the top of the log. After that, begin placing the plugs. Use the hammer to gently push the plugs in the holes. Then, with the help of the paintbrush, cover the plug and the hole with wax. Lastly, soak the log for at least 12 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
Growing Lion’s Mane Mushrooms On Logs: Taking Care of the Log
After the inoculation, you need to place the log in a shady and moist spot. If you prefer, you can lean the log against a wood wall or pole with a 45° angle. You can also try burying the base of the log. This is important especially if your spot is not moist enough.
As mentioned, growing Lion’s Mane mushrooms on logs takes a long time. But as long as you maintain the shade and moisture, expect the log to show mushroom flushes after 6 months. But do not fret. Because in 2-6 years, you’ll have the supply of Lion’s Mane mushrooms. Just keep checking on your log for any white fuzz. That is your sign that your Lion’s Mane mushrooms are successfully growing.
Possible Problems When Growing Lion’s Mane Mushrooms On Logs
When growing Lion’s Mane mushrooms on logs, there can be a few setbacks. But don’t worry. Every problem has a solution. Here are some possible problems that you may encounter while growing Lion’s Mane. And how you can solve them.
If the location of your log is well ventilated, molds may not occur. But in case of molds appear, the best thing to do is move the log around to find better ventilation. But if it is already infested with molds, it’s best to throw it away.
Apart from molding, another scenario is the case of drying out. This is caused by a lack of moisture. There are many ways to fix this. Moving the log to a more moist place is okay. Another option is spraying water on the log. You can also soak them for a bit if it’s drying too fast.
When harvesting Lion’s mane, you need to look for the spot where the teeth are formed. Usually, teeth will form around 4-7 days after the mushroom pins appear.
With a knife, cut the Lion’s Mane by the base. Make sure not to damage its spine. Do not wait to harvest these mushrooms. Because once they turn pink or brown, they have already passed its prime.
Can’t Eat Fresh
There are many ways to prepare Lion’s Mane mushroom to cook. But if you don’t feel like eating it fresh, you can dry them out first. You can do this by slicing it about 1/4-inch thick. Then, store them in a ventilated place and wait for them to dry.
And now you know that growing Lion’s Mane mushrooms on logs is not that complicated. It may take years before you actually get some mushrooms. But the wait is worth it. You can also grow Lion’s Mane mushrooms on logs every year. So, you’ll have a consistent supply of this healthy medicinal fungus in the coming years.