Kudzu

catman529(6b)March 23, 2009

I know of a kudzu patch where I could take a couple small cuttings from.

I know that sounds crazy to anyone who knows how kudzu grows in the Southeast.

I've heard that it makes great compost, and is also very nutritional. I'd like to have a supply of it, knowing it's not been sprayed with pesticides. But obviously I can't just plant it in the garden or our entire house will become a green jungle within a couple years.

I'll say it a again- I know it sounds crazy. But does anyone know of a controlled way to grow kudzu for frequent foliar harvesting (and pruning to keep it from getting too long)? Only thing I can think of is a container, and I would have to keep the drain holes away from the ground and trim the vines very frequently to keep them from spreading and rooting in the ground.

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jimster(z7a MA)

I think crops of cowpeas and/or fava beans would be safer for your purpose, maybe grown in rotation according to season because the cowpeas need heat and the favas need cold. I would buy dried peas and beans by the pound bag from the grocery store for seed. If not quite so productive as kudzu, this is still a pretty effective way of producing green manure.

I would be afraid the chopped kudzu vines would take root in your compost, your garden and anywhere they landed.

Jim

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 12:44PM
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farmerdilla

Kudzu is a rampant grower, but it is very easy to control in a cultivated area. you can cut it back, mow it, dig it up. It only grows wild when you leave it alone. That why you see it strangling trees alonside roads and fence rows. You will not see it in a pasture or farmed field. It is not a good green manure crop, and there are lots of greens more palatable. It is edible, but you can't pay most folks to eat it.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 3:47PM
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catman529(6b)

How is the taste compared to a dandelion? Because dandelion is the most bitter thing I have tasted (and it was after blooming to make it worse). On top of that, I generally don't like eating greens anyway. Except for a few herbs, I usually don't eat fresh greens.

I've read from different online sources that it's good for composting. I would be careful about something taking root in my pile; I could always tear out anything that started growing.

Just out of curiosity, I might try to root a couple cuttings and keep them in small containers till they outgrow them. Then compost the foliage.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 7:06PM
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phantom_white(6)

The only part of the kudzu that will root is the vines themselves. The leaves won't root and can be used for a good source of green manure. I have a book that talks about using it. Cows also love it; which is why you don't find it in fields used for pasture. The deep roots of kudzu also draw up a lot of nutrients from the soil. Buuuuut you do need to be careful if you're gonna grow it.

Abby

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 12:17AM
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dvdgzmn(Sunset 17 SF CA)

You want to grow kudzu just to make compost? Yes, that sounds crazy. You want pesticide free? No problem. Nobody sprays insecticides on kudzu (yeah, gotta make sure the bugs don't eat the lovely kudzu), so all you need to do is harvest some 10 or 20 feet off the highway, where they might spray herbicide now and then.

If by "nutritional" you mean you want to eat some, best grow it in a pot.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 12:59AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

I have to defend catman's idea. It's not crazy to look for a rampant growing plant to produce a large volume of compost. I think kudzu may not be the best choice, but catman's reasoning makes sense.

Jim

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 12:33PM
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noinwi

Catman, you may want to find out if your state/county has a noxious weed control board that enforces the eradication of invasives. Not all of them do, but if they do, and they spot it on your property, they will ask you (nicely)to remove it. They can, depending on local regulations, fine you if you don't remove it within a certain time period. They're not just trying to tell you what to do on your own property, but some plants are so bad that there are(long standing)state/county programs for eradication in progress that the public is not aware of.
I'm not criticizing you at all for wanting to grow kudzu, and there are quite a few invasives I'd be tempted to grow, but having worked for a weed board in the past, guilt takes over and I don't do it. I do, however, resist pulling any up that I see growing if I particularly like it and it's not being enforced(cringing with guilt).

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 1:13PM
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rockguy(7a)

If I was going to grow it, I would think a large pot with drain holes inside a larger metal pot sitting off the ground would do it.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 10:06PM
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chao

I am planing on growing velvet beans and iron clay peas to make compost and also to use as a green manure. A field of velvet beans looks a lot like kudzu

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 9:27PM
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