Our Objective: Convert Our Ugly Old Garden(?) into a Lush Raised Planter Bed Garden
For years we’ve had this scraggly attempt of a garden going on in our back yard. Really nothing ever came of it. We had tomatoes, squash etc planted, but nothing really grew. ….Except for a giant old Rosemary bush that took the garden over.
We’d been thinking planter beds for a few years, so when a friend asked us to go in on local lumber, we both decided to build the beds.
The Problem: A Giant Rosemary Rules. Too Much for a String Trimmer
I’ve been wishing for a good brush cutter for a long time. They seem to be the right tool for those jobs that simply can’t be done with a string trimmer. What held me back was the idea of buying something gas-powered. In our urban neighborhood, we’re all about clean energy. Plus I hate the maintenance needed with gas powered equipment, and gasoline on my hands and clothing. Then, this year Ryobi came out with a cordless electric system. It uses the same 40-volt batteries I already have from my other Ryobi tools. It uses all the attachments that typically go with the gas-powered version!
Our Solution: Ryobi’s Expand-it 40-volt Cordless Electric Power Head with Brush Cutter Attachment
So, our solution was found in Ryobi’s Expand-it Brush Cutter. They market it as a “gas-like power” piece of equipment. Happily, I’ve found the claim to be true. Ryobi successfully created a product with the power and nearly the same torque as the gas-powered version.
As you can see from the photos, the cordless driven 40-volt cutter made small work of our space clearing it out literally in minutes!
Once we had done some rough work on the ground with a larger rototiller, we used another Ryobi product, the 18-volt One+ Cultivator to even out the ground a bit, and later to mix in our blend of peat moss, vermiculite and mushroom compost (in even parts) after we placed our pre-constructed beds over landscape fabric.
The result was a beautiful garden all our friends have commented on. It’s still producing great veggies today! As the garden grew we were able to use our cultivator to easily do some weed control.
Here are details on the Ryobi Expand-it system and the brush cutter we used.
The cutter attaches easily to our 40-volt Expand-it cordless electric powerhead. It’s as easy connecting a vacuum cleaner hose. A tightening knob keeps the connection secure. I should mention you can use this interchangeably with the gas-powered version also.
The entire unit is light and easy to handle, but it includes a harness for a bit more security. There is a safety on/off switch plus a throttle so you can adjust power easily. If you drop the tool or release your grip, it immediately shuts off.
Having said that, you still want to stay focused on your tool as it cuts. The blade is very sharp. You also need to use eye protection.
The tri-arc blade cuts a clean 8-inch swath through most brush easily. With Ryobi’s 40-volt system, it’s strong enough to cut without binding or stalling. Our blade has lasted without sharpening all Summer. We’ve even lent it out to several friends for similar projects. Everyone’s loved the tool!
What’s coolest about the system is how versatile it is. Ryobi has reasonably priced attachments for most yard and garden projects. I frequently use the edger and heavy duty string trimmer. The basic Expand-it system starts off with the Power Head and String Trimmer attachment. The Power Head can also be purchased separately online at HomeDepot.com.
Installing a raised planter bed has made all the difference in the quality and production of our garden. The Ryobi tools made it a much more fun and simple process.
Disclaimer: Ryobi Outdoor provided tools for our project. Ryobi Outdoor tools are available at your local Home Depot or at HomeDepot.com.