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ScottinAtlanta June 16, 2013 12:00 PM

Kudzu compost - for Southerners
Folks, I have been experimenting with kudzu compost this spring. As you know, kudzu compost is an old Southern secret, which apparently works because kudzu, a bean vine, is high in nitrogen.

Using a machete, I collect a batch of green kudzu, vines and leaves - a couple of bushels - put it through the wood chipper, and end up with a chopped green mulch. It acts like a turbo charge to the compost pile.

24 hours after mixing it with some water into browns (mostly dry mulched leaves and chipped wood), the compost pile is steaming. I can't put my hand into the middle of it, the heat is so high. After a week or so, the browns become a kind of humus, light brown and crumbly. In six weeks, black compost. Amazing!

I now do this every few weeks as the compost pile gets more browns.

Any other experience with kudzu compost?

KY Grower June 16, 2013 12:38 PM

Will definitely give this a try Scott. There is certainly an unlimted supply of Kudsu.

FisherPrice June 16, 2013 01:38 PM

Wow Kudzu!...I grew up in South Carolina and now live in Alaska. I have not seen Kudzu in 20 years. Spanish Moss, Kudzu, Mistletoe, and Magnolias. And one can't forget Cicadas, and Fireflies. I really miss the south! Please forgive the ramblings of a displaced southern boy.

claherron June 16, 2013 02:33 PM

I can tell some horror stories about that stuff, hope none of it takes root in your compost pile. That equals big trouble. Growing up in the south I never heard of it being used for compost will give it a shot.

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jerryinfla June 16, 2013 03:35 PM

Scott - I've never tried it myself but will based on your post. Sounds like an excellent ingredient for the pile when shredded!

kurt June 16, 2013 03:41 PM

Just be careful handling it.
[QUOTE=jerryinfla;356670]Scott - I've never tried it myself but will based on your post. Sounds like an excellent ingredient for the pile when shredded![/QUOTE][url][/url]

ScottinAtlanta June 16, 2013 03:53 PM

Yes, careful mulching is essential. Also, I am harvesting it in early budding season, before seeds. However, I wonder if the composting process would sterilize any seeds in any case?

daninpd June 18, 2014 12:44 AM

Just remember that legumes fix nitrogen in the soil because most of the nitrogen in the plant is in the root system. That's the nitrogen fix, plant the beans, next year plant the corn in the same spot. Or plant pole beans around corn. One plant fixes nitrogen the other plant needs a lot of it.

I have seen kudzu at it's worst and I'm not about to plant it here to benefit from it's root system. Never used it, not an kudzu expert but I would plan on it for compost and mulch. I would not expect to find a lot of N in those leaves.:|

ScottinAtlanta June 18, 2014 10:19 AM

Just made another batch of kudzu compost. 24 hours after adding the shredded kudzu to mulched oak leaves, the temps have risen to 120 degrees. This stuff is like rocket fuel in the compost pile.

budfaux June 18, 2014 05:19 PM

Sorry I didn't see this thread before I started mine, Scott!

Believe I'll be trying your compost recipe.
I think I'll also dry a few batches on some old windowscreens and turn it into a moreof a powder form.
It's cool to experiment with the free stuff at our disposal...

amideutch June 19, 2014 04:45 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is the guy that put Kudzu on the map with this book. Good information on the subject and how to do it.


ScottinAtlanta June 19, 2014 08:46 AM

Here is how I make kudzu compost.

peppero June 20, 2014 06:50 AM

You can learn something new and beneficial everyday if you pay attention. Thanks Scott.


budfaux June 22, 2014 10:39 PM

[QUOTE=ScottinAtlanta;418405]Here is how I make kudzu compost.
Thanks for posting your pics, Scott. Very helpful.
Previously I'd only picked the leaves.

Yesterday, I grabbed one of my 32 gallon plastic trash cans, went to a kudzu site with simple pruning shears, and cut vines and all, and filled the can in a matter of minutes.
I layed the gloop out in my driveway, and with my basic mulching lawn mower, turned the pile into deep green aromatic pile, chopped somewhat similar to the consistentcy of grass clippings.
Using close to a bale of wheat straw, I sandwiched two layers of kudzu between three layers of straw. I added 4-5 gallons of water on top.
A couple hours later, i added another gallon of water with 3 tablespoons of molasses added.

This afternoon, I stuck my hand 8"-10" into the heap, and could tell the temp was well over 100 degrees. Cookin'!

I'll be starting larger pile soon, now that harvesting kudzu is not as difficult as I was making it. Will be adding poke salad to this one as well.

The education never ends...

ScottinAtlanta June 23, 2014 03:30 AM

Great to see this working for you.

Poke weed! Would be great to add that stuff, too. Let me know how that goes.

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