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How to Grow Maitake

By D.C. Winston
Maitake Mushroom No. 7

Maitake mushrooms, Grifola Frondosa, are known more commonly as Hen of the Woods or Sheep's or Ram's Head. Native to the Northeast of Japan and Eastern North America, flavorful Maitake are cultivated for cooking as well as for holistic oriental medicine. Cultivating and growing Maitake is not simple but you can make or buy a mushroom growing kit. Maitake takes between 12 and 36 months to grow in the wild, but this time can be shortened under certain conditions. Maitake require minimal filtered light, humidity, moderate temperatures and a hardwood substrate to grow. Learning to grow Maitake takes patience; it may take several attempts to succeed.

Plant a piece of pure Maitake culture onto a natural or artificial wood log or stump by placing or nestling it into a natural or created crevice in the wood that is moist or has been moistened for this purpose. If there is no natural soil or decayed foliage material on the wood surface, you can add a small amount of soil around the culture to protect it and to serve as a nutrient base.

Monitor the planting and its moisture level carefully each few days to a week. It may take two weeks to several months, depending on conditions, to tell if the planting is taking.

Plant or inoculate Maitake indoors by placing a pure culture of Maitake onto a moist bed of sterilized hardwood sawdust and bran pure granules contained in a semi open propylene bottle or plastic bag.

Control humidity in the room so that it exceeds 75 percent and consistently maintain the temperature between 45 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Apply light up to 500 lux, which is about the light equivalent of indoor fluorescent office light for at least 4 hours per day.


Things You Will Need

  • Sterilized hardwood sawdust and bran
  • Pure Maitake cultures
  • Tree stump or log, preferably oak
  • Water
  • Clear propelyne bottles or bags for indoor cultivation