Hen of the Woods; HOTW. Also known as Maitake.
Grows slowly and best at 50-65°F but can survive in the 70’s. Intermediate difficulty. Indoor HOTW grows are rewarding because of the slight difficulty as well as the delicious mushrooms that are free from forest floor litter and bugs that are common in outdoor foraged specimens.
Start of pinning: side view and top view. Note “bubbling” and grayish growths
Grown by Nathan Murphy (Western PA) between 70-80°F and 85-95% humidity with temp/humidity spikes (air drawn from outside). NM says the strain is “merciful” to wide ranged conditions.
This product may take up to 3 weeks to ship but most of the time will ship immediately or in 1-2 weeks. Please be aware of the lag before ordering. You will get an email with tracking 1 day before shipping, if you need to delay the order contact MMM ASAP to reschedule the order ship date.
Please see below the instructions for considerations about home grown food products and mushroom spores.
Instructions for use:
This information is specific to Hen of the Woods/HOTW/Maitake.
- Check your block upon arrival to make sure there are no tears or signs of mold from shipping. If the block has broken into pieces during shipping, gently press the block together and let sit 3-5 days undisturbed before moving to step 2.
- Pull the top of the bag upwards and allow the headspace to fill with air to create an open space around the top of the block. If necessary, cut a small hole to allow air into the bag and tape shut. The block should be sitting with the filter patch at the top sitting up.
- Place the block in indirect sunlight in a 50-60°F location and allow primordia (the start of mushrooms) to form at the surface. Primordia will be dark gray/brown in color and form almost growths that will develop over 4-8 weeks.
- Once the primordia have formed, cut the top of the bag at the seal. Place the Ready-to-Fruit block in the most humid part of your home (not in direct sunlight but indirect sunlight is required) or in a grow chamber/fruiting chamber or grow tent. The kitchen is a good household place in lieu of a dedicated fruiting chamber but HOTW does best with a high and relatively stable humidity that a fruiting chamber provides. Hen of the Woods fruits best between 55-65°F.
Search online for easy to make fruiting chambers: monotubs, shot gun fruiting chambers (SGFCs) and tents with foggers/humidifiers are all great options and will likely increase success in fruiting and producing healthy fruits. Even a trash bag with plenty of holes can be used to increase humidity!
- 2X daily (or more if your environment is dry) spritz the plastic with filtered/distilled water where the cut was made and watch the mushrooms form from the primordia. Avoid getting the substrate inside the block too wet and do not let mushrooms get wet. Mushrooms should never be wet for more than 1-2 hours after misting to avoid bacterial issues. The bag/fruiting chamber should be retaining the humidity.
- Continue to mist the plastic while they grow or retain in a humid fruiting chamber. Every ~ 2 weeks, roll down about ~1/3 of the bag such that, after 6 weeks the mushrooms and top of the block are exposed. Hen of the Woods are usually ready to harvest 6-8 weeks after primordia form and should be harvested before the caps flatten out or become concave for tastiest results. If a fruiting chamber is not being used, do not roll the plastic below the mushroom cluster to try and retain humidity. If the mushrooms begin to dry out, harvest early.
- Cut the mushroom cluster from the block and enjoy for your next meal!
- Soak the block in fresh, cold, distilled/filtered water for 1-6 hours while inside the bag (pour into the opening) and then drain
- Put block back into fruiting conditions by rolling up the bag, sealing with a zip-tie or rubber band and beginning from step 2. You should get at least 1 more “flush” of mushrooms from the block.
- Once the block is done producing or if there are any issues getting mushrooms to grow, put the block outside (remove plastic) in a shaded area that is moist (low to the ground is best). There is a good chance your block will produce mushrooms outdoors if conditions are right. Consider soaking the block if it gets too dry.
*CAUTIONS AND CONSIDERATIONS:
IF YOU PLAN ON CONSUMING YOUR HOME-GROWN MUSHROOMS MAKE SURE TO COOK THEM THOROUGHLY. IF IT IS YOUR FIRST TIME EATING THIS SPECIES, IT IS BEST TO START WITH A SMALL AMOUNT TO SEE HOW YOUR BODY RESPONDS!
MUSHROOMS PRODUCE SPORES AS THEY DEVELOP. THIS IS A NATURAL MEANS OF REPRODUCTION FOR THE FUNGUS. THEY USUALLY APPEAR AS A DUSTY SURFACE ON YOUR GROW KIT BENEATH THE MUSHROOM CAPS. PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES OR COMPROMISED IMMUNE SYSTEMS MAY WANT TO CONSIDER PUTTING FRUITING MUSHROOM KITS OUTDOORS OR IN A WELL-VENTILATED AREA AS AIRBORNE SPORES SOMETIMES CAUSE RESPIRATORY IRRITATION. SPORES MAY ALSO CAUSE IRRITATION FOR SOME NON-ALLERGIC OR IMMUNE COMPROMISED MUSHROOM GROWERS, THOUGH THIS IS RARE. HARVESTING MUSHROOMS WHILE STILL IN THEIR YOUNGER GROWTH STAGES WILL REDUCE THE OVERALL SPORE LOAD.