September 7, 2017

Time to do Something About the Kudzu

At the end of our fig season last month, I got a good view of how badly the kudzu had been taking over the area behind our carport.

View from the top of the ladder. The little building in the upper
right corner (almost covered with kudzu) is a small storage shed.

From the ground it looked like this.

Storage shed is center, white building on right is the car port.
The path from the barn to the garden is completely covered!

How do things get this out of control? Firstly because kudzu grows at an almost alarming rate. Secondly, because I've been so busy with picking and preserving, that there hasn't been time for much else. Also Dan had a pile of barn building materials blocking the path to the garden so it's been "out of sight, out of mind." The thing to set up the electric netting and let the goats have at it!

I pulled out the vines along the path and laid them out to dry on a tarp. These were added to the hay pile for a winter treat.

Kudzu vines drying on a tarp for hay.
Current goat barn in the background.

Then Dan mowed a path and helped me set up the fence so we could let in the goats.

They will gradually work their way through the kudzu and other goodies growing in this area.

Eventually we plan to do something about this area on a more permanent basis, but since we have the goats for control, it isn't very high on the priority list. For now we look on the positive side and consider it more free food for the goats.

Violet and Ellie

Kudzu contains protein, calcium, iron, B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium.


That means it's not only free, but also is quite nutritious. And I notice that when the goats get their fill on kudzu, milk production goes up! A very good goat food indeed.

September 2017 by 


Chris said...

What an excellent source of nutrition for your goats. Plus it grows itself! I'm in the process of planning for goats (a long ways off yet) and deciding on plants which can feed them. I'm thinking trees I can treat like hedges (Leucaena) and cut back. Even a native She-oak. Both have good protein content, and most importantly, can survive harsh environments.

Having goats definitely comes in handy, when you want to control plants that are out of control! Like your Kadzu.

Lady Locust said...

That's great! We don't have kudzu here (that I'm aware of) but we do have blackberries that will take over if we let them. Glad the goats are making good use of it.

Leigh said...

Chris, that's exciting news! Those are the kinds of plants that work well for goats. It's a win-win. Rabid Little Hippie also mentioned tagasaste trees to me as a possibility, but they aren't available in the U.S. Seems like it would definitely be a possibility for you, however.

Lady Locust, goats love blackberry vines too! They've pretty much eradicated them in their own paddocks, which is a blessing. I like blackberries but they can be invasive.

Seeking Serenity said...

WOW you need to rent them out !
btw thank you so much for visiting my blog <3
The solid state is SO much faster than a disk drive to boot up and there is no
more "defraging" or risk from bumping the pc. because there are no moving parts
no need to put it to sleep.... its just like a phone or tablet!

Paula said...

You do know that kudzu is edible for humans, too, don't you?

See this:

Ed said...

As a northerner, I am always amazed seeing all that kudzu on my trips to the south. I always think that if humans should become extinct, it wouldn't take kudzu but a few years to disguise that we even existed... at least in the south.

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

At first I thought it was a bad thing but then when I read all the nutrition and the goats liking it I thought it is wonderful to have free food. I wouldn't want to fall and get tangled up in it though!!! Nancy

Caroline J. Baines said...

Nice to see the goats getting rid of your weeds and enjoying themselves in the process!

Leigh said...

Serenity, thank you for the feedback on the solid state drive. I was curious. I've been looking at a low budget Linux laptop and SSD is one of the options. I'll have to consider it. Thanks!

Paula, thanks for the link! I knew kudzu was edible for people too, it's just something I haven't tried for us yet. I know the roots can be used as a thickener like cornstarch, so it seems that it's a versatile plant, even if it is terribly invasive (in other words, might as well take advantage of it since it's here!)

Ed, it would take less than a few years! Probably just one summer. Of course it dies back in winter and reveals all, but it's perfectly capable of smothering out everything in its path.

Nancy, well it can be bad if left unchecked! Goats are often used to control it, so there's definitely a way to use it for good.

Caroline, agreed!

M.K. said...

What a wonderful solution! Good for your goats. That kudzu is alarming -- I grew up in Mississippi, and it covers whole trees, sometimes for miles, in the summer. I've seen books with something like 100 uses of kudzu, haha! But I like your goat solution best.

Rain said...

Hi Leigh :) The goats are adorable, it looks like they really enjoy the treat! And the milk production win situation? I kind of like the "jungle" look! But if it's not functional, I understand why you need to tame it.

Leigh said...

M.K. it's amazing what kudzu can do, isn't it? It's true there are a lot of good uses for it, and there'd better be considering how prolific it is!

Rain, kudzu is a very attractive plant with pretty flowers. And it is usable: it's edible, makes good hay, and the vines are used for baskets and things. It covers up eye sores - and everything else! At one time the U.S. government actually paid farmers to plant it for erosion control. That was before they knew how incredibly invasive it is. Goats are used in quite a few places to control it, which is so much better than poisons. Truly a win-win!

Quinn said...

Leigh, did you happen to see The Blind Pig and the Acorn blog the day Tipper linked to an article about kudzu? It was from Smithsonian Magazine and was certainly an interesting perspective...I'll see if your blog will let me link it: