Reishi mushrooms are a great choice of mushroom to grow at home. They are also easy to cultivate since they are quick to colonize plus, they are relatively resistant to various forms of infection.
Reishi can be cultivated in various forms, i.e., antler form and conk form. Growing these two forms depends on the quantity of fresh air the mushrooms receive during growth. However, the mushrooms usually take the conk form unless they're grown in low CO2 environments. Grown inside the house or a fruit bag reishi will form as antlers.
These types of mushrooms have no culinary use since they have a bitter and woody taste. These mushrooms are best known for their medicinal purposes and are often used in teas or powdered supplements.
Habitat of Reishi Mushrooms.
There are several types of Reishi mushrooms, which each grow in various regions globally. Reishi mushrooms are saprotrophic, meaning they grow on dying or dead trees and continue reproducing yearly until they've exhausted all the substrate in their habitat.
Reishi mushrooms are widely distributed in North America because of the large concentration of Hemlock trees. However, they've been occasionally reported to grow in U.S's southwest. They can be found globally in warmer regions like Asia, the south pacific region, and southern Europe.
Reishi Mushrooms Spawning Details.
Take your fully colonised grain or sawdust spawn and mix with pasteurized or sterilized bulk substrate.
The optimal temperature for Reishi mushroom spawning is 30-32 degrees Celsius; lowering the temperatures results in slower colonization. The spawn run period should be 10 to 14 days with a humidity of 80%.
Reishi Mushrooms Pinning Conditions.
The mushrooms should begin when placed in 95% to 100% humidity. Don't be surprised if the substrate block goes brown; this is completely normal. White bulbs should start appearing from the block, these are the pins.
Fruiting Conditions for Reishi Mushrooms.
Fruiting Reishi mushrooms is easy. The process takes about 60 days after first spawn, required temperatures are 70 to 80 degrees F. and a humidity of 90 to 95 %.
There should be ambient CO2 of less than 2000 PPM to form antlers. This can normally be achieved in a monotub or fruiting bag without much fresh air exchange. I have written a post discussing use of a monotub to grow reishi.
How Long Does it Take for Reishi to Grow??
A full growing cycle can take as little as 8 weeks from start to finish, however this is depending on how optimal your growing conditions are and the cleanliness you substrate during colonisation.
Fruiting is usually the longest stage in the cycle, this can take up to 30-40 days. Whilst colonization is relatively fast, completing from 10-14 days.
Type of Substrate Reishi Mushrooms Grows On.
Reishi mushrooms grow perfectly on sawdust mixture such as fine and coarse hardwood. However, the best combination to use is Oak sawdust. Some growers add calcium carbonate and 2% gypsum to the sawdust to produce more yields.
Note: Reishi mushrooms do not grow well when placed on straw substrates.
Fruiting Containers for Reishi Mushrooms.
Reishi mushrooms can be grown in a variety of different containers due to the fact they can tolerate high or low levels of CO2.
Here is a brief list of some container examples:
- Grow Bags.
- Monotub teks (tutorial here).
- Bucket teks.
- Recycled containers.
When to Harvest Reishi Mushrooms?
You can harvest the Reishi mushrooms at any stage by cutting the mushrooms off at the base with sharp scissors.
However, it's advisable to harvest the mushrooms right before the Reishi mushroom's fruit body drops its spores as the released spores could make for a messy cleanup.
A good rule of thumb is 30-40 days after the first antler forms.
What do Reishi Mushrooms Taste like?
Reishi mushroom isn't consumed because of its sweet taste; most people consume it because of its medicinal properties. The mushrooms don't taste as other mushrooms do; they have an earthy, bitter, almost raw flavour.
You could add Reishi mushroom powder in hot water; however, the taste may be a little hard for you to stomach. Instead, you could try adding the powder to tea, hot chocolate, flavoured soups, and other drinks with sweet flavour, which may help mask the taste.
You could also cut dried Reishi mushrooms and boil them together with other ingredients to make tea. However, you'll have to boil the fresh mushrooms for 20 minutes or more if you want to extract the mushroom's medicinal compounds.
You'll have to boil dry mushrooms for longer, one to two hours, to make tea. You can store the extract in the fridge for several days to be used later. However, the tea produced is very bitter and can only be taken by brave enough people.
However, if you find the taste bothersome, you could still try Reishi mushrooms in capsule form, but it would be good to know that the mushrooms will take a longer time to get absorbed into your bloodstream.
Are Reishi Mushrooms Hallucinogenic?
Reishi mushrooms are not hallucinogenic; however, some people claim that they are.
Some studies (healthline.com) also note that Reishi mushrooms can help lower depression and anxiety and thus improve the quality of life.
Disclaimer: While some sites claim that Reishi mushrooms have psychedelic effects, no conclusive results have been determined by any studies done.
If you want to grow the mushrooms at home, then the Reishi mushrooms are your best option. These mushrooms are resistant to infection, and they are great at colonization. Reishi mushrooms are lovely to watch as they mature and develop various formations.
You can also cultivate these mushrooms without putting too much emphasis on grow room conditions. They can also be cultivated inside a grow bag in a very low maintenance manner! Ensure that you dehydrate your mushrooms after harvest and store them for use over extended periods.
You should definitely give growing Reishi mushrooms a go, its probably one of the most simplest grows to complete.
Begin today and have fun!