Things You'll Need
1 oz Hon Shimeji (Lyophyllum shimeji) spores
17.5 oz soluble starch
4 oz D-glucose
0.2 oz pectin
0.55 oz yeast extract
0.1 oz KH2PO4
0.1 oz MgSO4
1 oz charcoal powder
5 quarts water
1 1/4 lbs peat moss
Large container with accessible opening, such as a box
Climate control system with humidity controls
Hon-Shimeji mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of mycorrhizal fungi. They originate in Japan and other parts of East Asia, where they are both grown and harvested wild. Many mushrooms commercially identified as being of the Hon-Shimeji variety are actually brown beech or brown clamshell mushrooms. True Hon-Shimejis are very difficult to cultivate, and as such they are one of the rarest and most expensive fungal delicacies both in Japan and elsewhere. You will need to purchase a number of synthetic nutrients to add to the growing medium to ensure that the mushrooms grow. They also need to be grown in a climate- and light-controlled environment.
Mix 17.5 oz. soluble starch, 4 oz. D-glucose, 0.2 oz. pectin, 0.55 oz. yeast extract, 0.1 oz. KH2PO4, 0.1 oz. MgSO4, 1 oz. charcoal powder, and 5 quarts of water. If you can obtain a pre-made nutrient mix from a supplier with a nutrient profile similar to the proportions above, this may be an acceptable substitute for making your own.
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Place the peat moss into a container with a wide, accessible opening, such as a large wide-mouthed bottle or another watertight container.
Combine the entirety of the nutrient solution with all of the peat moss. Mix well.
Scatter 1 oz. of the spores into the peat moss and nutrient substrate. Mix well with your hands or a trowel.
Place the container of spores and substrate in a dark, climate controlled area such as a wine cellar. Adjust the climate control's settings to maintain a temperature of 85 degrees F with 70 to 80 percent relative humidity. Keep the culture in these conditions consistently for three months.
Move the culture to an area lit by fluorescent bulbs and lower the climate control's settings to maintain a temperature of 60 degrees F. The relative humidity should be increased to 85 to 95 percent. The fungi should be kept in these conditions for another 30 days. Two weeks after placing the culture in these conditions, primordia (the precursors of full mushrooms) should begin to form. The mushrooms will form approximately two more weeks later.
Harvest the fruiting bodies in clusters.