The lion's mane mushroom can be identified by the cascading spines that replace the gills that most other mushrooms have. The mushroom is used both for culinary and medicinal purposes. Its taste is often described as being similar to a lobster, and it's used by gourmet chefs for this reason. In Chinese medicine, the mushroom is used as an aid for the stomach and for its anti-tumor properties. Lion's mane typically grows on the wood of dying hardwood trees.
Choose a shaded or wooded area in your yard to begin growing your lion's mane mushrooms in late winter or early spring. Clear the leaves and other debris from the area.
Loosen the dirt with a shovel to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Cover the entire growing area with 2 inches of wood chips.
Make sure there is no decay on your logs. However, natural cracks in the log work well for growing mushrooms.
Use rubbing alcohol to sterilize your 5/16 inch drill bit. Put your drill bit into the drill. Begin at one end of the length of the log. Drill a 1 ¼-inch-deep hole into the log. Continue to drill a row of holes all down the length of the log. Space each hole 4 inches apart.
Start a next row of holes 2 inches from the last one, and begin the first hole 2 inches forward from where the first hole of the last row was started so that the holes are offset. Continue to drill rows of holes into the log until there are about 50 holes.
Hammer each spawn plug into a separate hole until it is completely inside the log. Melt your cheese wax in a double boiler, and paint the melted wax over each hole with a paintbrush to seal the plugs over. Continue to inoculate all your logs in the same manner.
Lay your logs on the woods chips by crisscrossing them together to form and X pattern. Bury the bottom one-third of the logs in the wood chips. Continue to lay your logs in an X pattern over the wood chips. Your lion's mane mushroom will grow over the logs in 5 to 6 weeks, and may grow into the wood chips too.
Add enough water to moisten your mushroom patch well. Continue to moisten the patch each day.
Begin to harvest your lion's mane mushrooms when their spines elongate. Make sure to harvest the mushrooms before they turn completely yellow or pink and begin to soften. Harvest the mushrooms by breaking them off from the wood at the base gently to prevent them from bruising. Add new wood chips around your logs after each harvest.
Things You Will Need
- Wood chips
- 3-foot oak logs, at least 3 inches in diameter
- Rubbing alcohol
- Drill with 5/16-inch drill bit
- 50 lion's mane spawn plugs for each log
- Cheese wax
- Double boiler