If you love mushrooms, then hericium erinaceus is a type that you must definitely try. Known by the names lion's mane or hedgehog mushroom, this type of mushroom is meatier and juicier than the usual button and portobello mushrooms that most people are familiar with. Moreover, it is known for its neuroprotective and immune-boosting potential. If you're interested in growing your own lion's mane, then this guide on how to grow Hericium erinaceus will help you get started.
Before we dive into the details of growing Hericium erinaceus, let's first understand what this mushroom looks like. True to its name, the lion's mane mushroom looks like a lion's mane with its long, flowing spines. The color of these spines ranges from white to beige. As it matures, the spines turn brownish-yellow.
Now that you have an idea of what the lion's mane mushroom looks like, let's start with the process of growing it.
The substrate is the material used as a food source for hericium erinaceus. The lion's mane mushroom grows on various substrates that include hardwood sawdust, straw, and pasteurized wood chips. We recommend using hardwood sawdust because it's the easiest to grow on and won't require you to do a lot of work.
Once you have chosen your substrate, the next step is to prepare it. Start by filling a large container with the sawdust. Then, add water until the sawdust is evenly moist throughout. This process is known as hydration. You can use your hands to mix the sawdust and water.
Once the sawdust is hydrated, pasteurize it by adding heat. This step is important because it sterilizes the sawdust, killing off any bacteria or fungus that may interfere with the growth of the lion's mane mushroom. To pasteurize, place the container in a large pot and heat it over medium heat for an hour.
Once the sawdust has been pasteurized, allow it to cool down to room temperature. Then it's time to inoculate the sawdust with the lion's mane mushroom culture. The culture is a starter that contains mushroom spores and is used to kickstart the growth of the mushroom.
You can either buy hericium erinaceus culture online or use a spore print from a mature hericium erinaceus. Store-bought cultures come in liquid form, and you can simply pour it onto the sawdust. If you are using a spore print, follow these steps:
Place the spore print on a sterile surface like a Petri dish.
Add a few drops of water to the spore print.
Close the dish and place it in a cool, dark place for a few days.
Once you see white fluffy growth, use a sterile scalpel to cut a small portion of the growth.
Transfer the small growth to the pasteurized sawdust.
Once you have inoculated the sawdust, it's time to wait. The lion's mane mushroom will start growing within a few weeks.
Hericium erinaceus is not a difficult mushroom to care for. Here are some care tips:
Keep the sawdust moist but not wet.
Place the container in a cool, dark place.
If you see any mold growth that is not white and fluffy, dispose of the sawdust and start again.
Harvest the lion's mane mushroom when it's fully mature.
Growing hericium erinaceus is not a complicated process. With the right substrate, preparing and inoculating, and the right amount of care, you can harvest your own lion's mane mushroom at home. Not only do they taste delicious, but they also offer various health benefits. So why not give it a try? Now that you know how to grow hericium erinaceus, put your knowledge into practice and start growing. Happy growing!
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