Grow Lions Mane Mushrooms

Lions Mane Mushrooms Growing

Compounds found in mushrooms have varying effects on the Human Mind and Body. The psychedelic effects of some mushrooms bear witness to that, Willy Nelson would be glad to demonstrate.

The compounds they contain are also at times toxic and even lethal. Other compounds found in mushrooms can be very beneficial. Lion’s mane mushrooms have come under the microscope in recent years for its potential nerve regenerative properties and neuroprotective effects. Compounds found in these tasty tidbits stimulate nerve regeneration. One Japanese study noted remarkable improvement in patients with cognitive impairment so long as they consumed the lion’s mane mushrooms: [1]

The lions mane mushroom remotely resembles traditional mushrooms. Instead of umbrella caps and stems we usually associate with mushrooms, they grow in rotund cylindrical masses and produce long snaking spines that resemble a lions mane.

It tastes a little like shellfish and a little like squash with only a distant hint of what you would expect from a mushroom, sorry but it doesn’t taste anything like chicken.

As opposed to many other mushroom varieties they are fairly simple to grow, either indoors or out. Starting from kits, fruiting can commence in as little as a few weeks, some have reported buds in as little as a week. Don’t be disappointed if it takes longer, sometimes considerably longer, there are multiple strains with varying growth habits. Lions Mane produces several crops [flushes] over a period of 2 -3 months before needing regeneration.

Growing your own Lions Mane Mushrooms

Lions Mane Mushrooms can be grown on logs in pretty much the same fashion as shiitake mushrooms. The spawn is planted in logs from freshly cut hardwood trees. The logs should be free of visible disease and excessive damage and the bark still intact. 

If cutting logs from live trees it’s advisable to do so between the first frost of early fall and the last frost of early spring when moisture content in the hard wood is at its peak. Logs should be inoculated asap, within a week or two of cutting not only to take advantage of the nutrients the spawn / spores crave but also to avoid contamination from other native fungus.

To inoculate, first drill holes into the logs. The holes should be deep enough to take in the spawn plug with minimal head space. You don’t want the plugs jutting over the logs outer surface or they will quickly dehydrate and die off. Drill your holes 6 – 8 inches apart and fill the drilled holes with the spawn. Seal with soft beeswax  for sealing spawn holes or food grade wax such as cheese wax. Do not use wax containing paraffin, such as candle wax.

Melt the wax to a soft pliable consistency – not molten liquid, just soft and pliable. Pouring bubbling wax over the spawn will kill it before it grows. A mix of petroleum jelly with the wax will help to make it more pliable – 1 part Petroleum Jelly to 3 parts wax.

Once the logs have been seeded stack them outside in a somewhat shaded location, a little sunshine – very little – is also needed – but never direct sunlight. Keep the logs moist, especially when there is inadequate rain, soak them down generously.

From time to time while awaiting your mushroom’s appearance, it is a good idea to stir up the logs. Bump them around a bit after the first complete season from when you inoculated them. Pick up the logs and drop them on the ground, this “thumping” will help stir up the spores that produce the mushrooms and circulate them somewhat.

After thumping and bumping them up, wet them down a tad . It is important that the logs be kept moist and soaked down – don’t allow them to dry out for extended periods – even during seasons when you aren’t watering your lawn or garden – water your logs.