Red Reishi Mushroom Grow Bag
Difficulty Level = Intermediate Your Mushroom Grow Bag has been sealed with 5 lbs of sterilized spawn-inoculated substrate. Over time, the mycelium will grow, emitting CO2 in the process. When your bag arrives it may be inflated or become inflated but the filter patch on the bag allows for some gaseous exchange while preventing contamination, so it won’t over-inflate. In ideal conditions each mushroom bag’s beginning dry substrate weight (~ 2 lbs) equals the weight that you could potentially get in mushrooms! Yum! Be sure to follow the directions carefully!
Storing your bag:
Store your bag unopened at room temperature until you are ready to fruit it. To store for more than a week, refrigeration is best. In general, the warmer it is the faster development occurs. If your bag is full of white mycelium, then it is ready to fruit. If it is mostly brown substrate, then leave the bag alone until the mycelium has grown more. Remember: The bag contains a living organism and can die if you neglect it too long. Once the mycelium have spread throughout the bag, the fungi needs moisture, light and fresh air.
- Medicinal mushroom
- In a sealed bag, which has high CO2, the Reishi will form “antlers”. These antlers have traditional medicinal uses. You can let the antler form grow in the bag if you want to harvest them.
- When you do cut the bag open and fresh air enters, the form will change from antler form to the typical shelf fungus form and grow from the slit.
Fruiting your Red Reishi bag:
- Set the bag on a dinner plate, tray or in a shallow plastic container. Mushrooms need light and consistent humidity so keep your block somewhere you’ll see it often, like the kitchen, a bathroom or laundry room.
- Make one to two 1″ slits anywhere along the side wall of the bag near where the fruit body is starting to form. Pull a few of the antlers through the slits. Do NOT cut into the block.
- Roll down the top of the bag and tape it tightly against the top of the block (make sure to not tape over the slit you just made). The slits in the bag will allow moisture and air to enter.
- Drape the fabric over the bag and keep the fabric misted or soak it in water a couple of times a day to keep it damp. If your bag is not yet producing you can water it every other day.
- Wait for the mushrooms to grow! (This may happen quickly or it may take a few weeks)
The Reishi will grow out of the slits in a shelf shape. To harvest, twist and pull the Reishi off right where they come off the block.
Follow directions below for more information about caring for your bag.
Humidity: High humidity is essential for growing healthy mushrooms. After you cut slits in the bag, moisten the enclosed polyester woven fabric and keep it draped over your open mushroom bag at all times. Keep the fabric misted or soak it in water a couple of times a day to keep it damp. You can also increase humidity by placing the bag in an uncovered plastic tub containing a few inches of moistened peat moss, potting soil, sponges, rags, perlite, or anything else that absorbs water and then tenting the fabric over it.
Light: Light quality is important and the most commonly overlooked. The best is natural light through a window which is indirect but bright. Other possible sources include florescent or LED lights – the brighter the better.
Fresh Air and Temperature: Fresh air allows for normal development of most mushrooms. By cutting the bag open you are providing the spawn with plenty of fresh air to grow. Fruiting temperatures between 50-75˚F are ideal for most species.
Harvesting & Usage Notes: To harvest, twist and pull, trying not to damage the block in the process. DO NOT CUT INTO THE BLOCK! Reishi mushrooms are medicinal mushrooms that are used for teas and tinctures. The Chinese call it the mushroom of immortality. Once your mushroom block starts producing, it will be at its highest production during the first 2 months. Eventually though, your block will contaminate. This is normal. You might observe green or black mold, similar to what you would see on cheese or bread, growing on the surface of the block. At this point, if it is above freezing, put your block outside and it will typically fruit another time or two. If it is winter time, put the block in a black plastic garbage bag and store in your basement or garage till spring. Then soak it and put it outside to see if it fruits some more.
Of course, never consume a mushroom that you haven’t positively identified!
Photos and expert information courtesy of Asheville Fungi. Have questions, problems, or would you like more information on how to expand your bag after it is done fruiting?… Contact Chris Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org