There is much hunger in the world, and a thought began to grow that we at RCS could make a difference at our corporate office here in Lake Elmo, MN. This passionate gardener knew our employees would be willing to help the community's neediest residents if only they had the means. In this case, that meant a garden. CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY.


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STORY TO POST SOON: Honey Harvest!

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Honey was harvested on the evening of August 25th.  We will know soon how many pounds of honey will be donated to the food shelf!


Garden Donations Reach Just Over 13,000 lbs!

Through this week, our garden has donated 13,004.3 lbs of food to the food shelf since 2009!


SPIN Kids Last Summer Visit to the Garden!

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The SPIN kids returned for a final time this summer.  Just about all the vegies – except the tomatoes and winter squash – were ready to be picked.

Teams of two volunteers quickly picked the green, purple and rose beans; zucchini and cucumbers, edamame and lettuces.  We checked the tomatoes but they needed another week to ripen. 

The garden grew quiet – what should we do?  Then one student quietly asked, “Can we check the carrots?”  What excitement as each volunteer chose one or two carrots to pull from the patch!  To our surprise there were orange and purple carrots growing in the same row. We only pulled enough to thin the patch and left the remainder to grow bigger over the next few weeks. 

We harvested 28 pounds of veggies!  (And quite a few pounds of weeds from the squash patch)

SPIN volunteers and teacher, thank you for your help this summer.  You were great volunteers and fun to teach and work with in the garden!


Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me… EXCITED TO PICK VEGGIES!

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Ryan, Hannah and I braved the rain on this Monday morning and picked 59 pounds of vegetables.

Despite feeling a little soggy, we experienced lots of veggie laughs… from silly-shaped cucumber “I Love You” messages, to monstrous tomatoes, to the Statue of Corn-Liberty…who knew veggies could be so fun!

We must pass on a word of caution, however;  

If one chooses to wear RED SHOES to harvest tomatoes, one can expect his or her feet to be picked a time or two!

Thanks for your help today kids!
- Contributed by Kathy Luoma, Master Gardener


Playing Hide and Go Seek with the Hidden Squash!

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Harvest Day with help from the SPIN kids!  With so many vegetables ready to harvest it was hard to decide where to start.  So we divided into teams and tackled rows of beans, cucumbers and zucchini.

It is sometimes hard to find the
zucchini as they hid in the bottom of the plants underneath the large
umbrella leaves.  But we were persistent because we didn't want any of the vegetables turning into monster sized squash!

A highlight of the picking was tasting fresh edamame- the green soybeans.  They grow in a pod that resembles peas except it is very fuzzy.  

We only picked the pods where we could easily see or feel the soybeans inside had reached a mature size.  Then we popped open a few for sampling.  Yum!

We harvested 52 pounds of veggies.  

Contributing writer - Deb Lynch, WC Master Gardener


A Time for Me Learn about "Tops & Bottoms"!

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The Book "Tops & Bottoms"!
This morning the kids from A Time For Me came to help in the garden.  We started with a story called Tops and Bottoms and talked about what part of vegetable plants we eat – the tops, the bottoms or the middles.

Then we went into the garden to look for some of the vegetables that were in the story.  We had fun finding the carrots,
eggplant, beets, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes and corn. And as we went through the garden, we saw that some things needed to be harvested, so we picked some of the cucumbers, eggplant and zucchini and almost all of the ripe tomatoes.  We ended up harvesting 25 pounds of produce!

Then we found the edamame and we wanted to see what they tasted like.  The seed pods are fuzzy on the outside, but when you open up the pods, the big seeds inside taste really good. 

We also tasted some of the green beans.  Yum!

Thank you to our helpers, we had so much fun in the garden today!

- Liz Nordling - 
Washington County Master Gardener Intern


A Colorful Feast!

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Last week I had an opportunity to spend a long weekend in Chicago celebrating a friends’ 50th birthday.  We admired these multi-colored cauliflower heads and carrot bunches before we sat down to share this colorful vegetable salad at an urban market restaurant.  It was delicious and was such a treat for our senses!

Today, the Junior Master Gardener kids helped me pick a colorful feast for our senses and the senses of the people who will receive these vegetables!  These young gardeners tackled 61 pounds of cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, edamame, beets,
pole beans and cabbage.  It was great for these kids to see the positive results of their early summer tedious carrot weeding.

They gave the carrots a chance to breathe and room to expand without having to compete with the weeds for water and nutrients.  Thanks kids!

Thanks to Caden’s whole family who joined in today as well! 

 - Contributed by Washington County Master Gardener Kathy Luoma


We Have a Corn Thief!

For the first time in our gardens history, we have a corn thief!  Frank from National Reprographics, the office where we weigh the harvest, found this chewed up corn cob in the back of our building.  We have a sneaking suspicion that the culprit is furry in nature, wearing a black mask over its eyes, and has a trailing striped tail!

SPIN Kids Tickled to Tackle Tumbling Tomatoes!

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The Spin Kids returned for harvest day on Friday.  75.9 pounds of zucchini, squash, cucumbers, green and purple dragon beans, lettuce and egg plant were picked and delivered to Valley Outreach.  The zucchini like to hide under the canopy of leaves where they grow and grow and
grow until they become quite monstrous in size.  So we searched and searched to pick all the 6 to 8 inch zucchini squashes - perfect sizes to cook up for dinner. 

The tomatoes keep trying to escape their cages and were falling in the aisles and on their neighbors.  But a few feet more of twine wound around the stakes and the tomatoes are back under control!  No telling what they will do next week, though!

- Contributing writer - Deb Lynch, Master Gardener