I’ve been talking a bit lately about gardening. Some of you may be new to gardening, so I offer this little tidbit for you. Consider this as you plan and plant your garden. Kudzu! Yes, Kudzu. It’s a hardy perennial for anyone that can be grown nearly anywhere.
The vine that is slowly eating away at the South was first brought here from Japan in 1876 by the federal government as a ground cover to help alleviate erosion. In the late 1930s and early 40s government pushed the planting of Kudzu, even subsidizing it at $8 per acre. Even the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) helped to plant it. By the early 80s it had been classified as a noxious weed.
Kudzu will grow anywhere, even asphalt or concrete, but you should choose a site that has at least a bit of soil. I recommend planting it away from your neighbor’s house though, as this may cause a rift. Of course, if you don’t like your neighbor, plant it at night!
Kudzu requires no special soil preparation or fertilizer. If you want to mulch, even though it isn’t really necessary, put a brick or cinder block on top of the seeds. It will slow the initial growth, but the challenge will be accepted by the plant and you’ll be rewarded with an extra determined plant that will grow like mad. The Japanese vine is completely indifferent to chemicals or pests. Just plant it and let the insects fend for themselves.
Kudzu (reportedly) has many uses from food, to fodder, to fabric for clothing. I’ve never seen or heard tell of anyone using it for anything other than the object of lots of cussing. It will cover a house in days and weigh down telephone poles and lines. The only defense against Kudzu encroachment to be discovered is the goat and the sheep. Hell, they eat everything that isn’t red-hot or nailed down!
Southerners being what we are, it was inevitable that Kudzu would be immortalized in verse:
Yes, I creep to cover, smother,
choking greenery like no other.
I am Kudzu taking over
places once filled deep in clover,
trees and bushes, vines entwining;
each within my path declining.
Little fazed by drought or drenching;
thirst for space there is no quenching.
In the brightness of the daylight
or within the depths of midnight
I am climbing, creeping, crawling
at a rate that’s deemed appalling.
Once confined to Asian byways,
now I border Southern highways
in relentless, endless forging
of the landscape I am gorging.
There’s no herbicide nor potion
that impedes my forward motion.
Look at me, see how I gloat, I…
Nuts, here comes that blasted goat!
– by Don Shook
Now, get out there and get to gardening!