Richters InfoSheet D4845
Reishi Mushroom Kit Growing Instructions
The ling zhi or reishi is a relatively slow growing mushroom that prefers a temperature around 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit, and a high humidity (75-85% relative humidity). It requires some shaded light to develop properly. Reishi requires fresh air, but drying drafts must be avoided. It likes a high humidity, but does not like to be continuously damp. A dirty or dusty environment increases the chance of mould or insect pest problems.
To provide suitable conditions over the several months required to grow this mushroom to full size, we suggest constructing an enclosure from poly, and some support material such as a 1 inch by 2 inch lumber or wire. Do not make the enclosure too small as the mushroom require fresh air. An enclosure approximately 18 inches by 18 inches by 18 inches is adequate for one mushroom kit. Alternatively, a large, clear poly bag inverted over your plant may be adequate. Wrap it around the substrate block and attach with some adhesive tape. Try to mount the tent so that the growing mushrooms do not some into contact with the tent walls.
If necessary, elevate the humidity inside the enclosure by misting onto the walls, but do not mist directly onto the growing mushrooms. You may also humidify by having a piece of damp cloth inside the enclosure. The cloth should be changed or cleaned once a week or it may become a breeding ground for moulds and mites, which will attack your reishi plant. A few drops of bleach per liter of water will help to forestall this problem. Do not spray bleach containing water directly onto the growing mushroom. Except for brief periods the humidity should not be higher than about 90% or mould growth will be promoted. Humidity control id difficult in winter as low outside temperatures result in low humidity indoors.
Loosen the tie at the top of the bag but keep the top of the bag essentially closed, and place the plant inside your enclosure. If the mushroom has already started to grow through the top of the bag, or if there appears to be some sort of plug in the top of the bad, do not attempt to remove it or to pull the bag away from it as this will inhibit the growth of your mushroom until it establishes new growing points.
While there may be problems with slugs, snails, crawling insects and bright sunlight, a warm, humid greenhouse may provide an adequate environment for the uncovered plant, if you provide some protection from these hazards.
In well ventilated environments your reishi mushrooms will develop into the bracket conch form seen in nature. With restricted ventilation the mushroom will develop in the highly prized antler form.
Your reishi mushroom plant has a substantial supply of stored food. It may continue growing for well over a year and produce antlers over 3 feet long. Your plant may produce a second and even a third crop, although you will need to replace moisture by immersing your plant in clean, cold water for several hours between crops. Drain well and place back in the fruiting environment.
The ling zhi or reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is highly revered as tonic and immune system stimulant. The ground mushroom is used directly or it may be steeped in hot water to prepare a tea. Sometimes mycelium is grown on food-grade millet and the entire mass used.
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