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Krafty kudzu baskets and treats.

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Here in Georgia, we have to keep the windows closed at night to keep the kudzu vine (Pueraria lobata) out. Most everyone in this part of the country knows it can grow a foot a day and that "the vine that ate the South" (imported to the United States from Japan in 1876) can strangle everything from peach trees to barns.

But what you may not know is kudzu blossoms can be made into fine jelly, wine, tea and syrup, and its leaves and young shoots can be boiled like spinach (or made into paper). The woody vines, which curl naturally, also can be used to make unique baskets, wreaths, flower pots and cornucopias. It's easy to work with when freshly harvested--perfect for novices and children. And where you find a little, you find a lot! So feel free to experiment with your own styles. I'm not a basket-making expert, but I made this one nine years ago and am still using it.

Tip: If kudzu threatens to take over your property, know that goats eat the leaves and pigs eat the roots. They will do a better job taking on your kudzu than most herbicides would.

Sarah Hitchner

Jefferson, Georgia

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Title Annotation:COUNTRY LORE: Readers' Tips to Live By
Author:Hitchner, Sarah
Publication:Mother Earth News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U5GA
Date:Aug 1, 2010
Words:203
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