Table Top Farms are an incredible introduction into the world
of fungi. They are available in several unique varieties (Shiitake, Oyster, Lion's Mane, Pioppini, Reishi, and Chestnut). All are fun and easy to grow. Lion's Mane is a unique looking gourmet and medicinal mushroom quickly gaining popularity for its seafood-like flavor and health benefits. Follow the steps below to set up your Lion's Mane Mushroom Table Top Farm.
Setting Up Your Table Top Farm:
1. Preparation and Setup
Open the box containing your ready-to-fruit mushroom block. Set the box up on it's side (Figure 1). Using a sharp knife, cut a diagonal slit from corner to corner (Figure 2).
2. Fruiting Location
Your Table Top Farm is aptly named. It can be grown on your kitchen table, countertop, shelf, or other surface that receives indirect sun or incandescent light (Figure 2). A grow light works equally well (at least 8 hours a day). Room temperature should be between 55-75°F.
3. Maintaining and Monitoring
Mushrooms require humidity to develop. Generally the relative humidity of a household is enough to provide an adequate growing environment, however your kit may need occasional misting if your household is dry (RH of 30% or less). Tiny mushrooms will begin forming at the cut site 10+ days after setting up the farm (Figure 3). They begin as dense white clusters that resemble cauliflower. If the mushrooms appear dry and begin to yellow, mist the kit lightly with a plant mister otherwise they may abort.
4. Harvest Mushrooms
As the mushrooms mature, downward pointing spines will begin to form. Lion's Mane are fully developed and ready
for harvest when the spines begin to elongate (and reach 1⁄4 ̋ length) and the mushroom becomes spongy feeling when squeezed gently with your fingers (Figure 4). Overly mature mushrooms will quickly release spores which show as a white powdery dust or flakes. Mushroom quality, shelf life, and flavor is better if you pick before this happens. To harvest, simply grab the mushroom, twist, and pull it off the block. Use a scissors to trim off the mushroom stem and sawdust that may be attached to the stem. Store your harvest in the refrigerator up to 10 days in a brown paper bag in your refrigerator's crisper drawer.
5. Additional Fruiting
After your first harvest, remove the mushroom block from the box. Flip the block and return it to the box so that the previously fruited side is now on the inside of the box. Cut open the fresh side, cutting a diagonal slit from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. Care for it with the same guidelines as the first fruiting.