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.

For Volunteer Questions, Contact: Joni Fletty 651.704.1750


Wednesday in the Garden

Click on any photo to enlarge

Volunteers from Summer Stretch at WPGUMG arrived on this beautiful and sunny morning to help harvest (and pull a few weeds along the way).
The cucumbers are climbing the tee-pees making it easier to find the beautiful produce.  Yellow summer squash and green zucchini are abundant.  We thinned the rutabagas and beets a bit to allow the plants some "breathing room".    

The butternut squash and patty pans were looking a bit under the weather after the heavy rains so we bolstered them with a good dose of Miracle Grow fertilizer.   The round shaped "Eight ball" squash from the patty pan seed trials are very prolific producers.  

The volunteers enjoyed hunting for the differently shaped patty pans.  In all, we harvested 50# of produce! 
- Contributed by Deb Lynch, Washington County Master Gardener


Scarecrow Bob Needs a Pick-Me-Up, Some Old and New Friends Lend Their Helping Hands and the Sighting of Our First Pumpkin!


A refreshingly cool July morning awaited a group of Junior Master Gardeners and friends! We were so happy to have a family of old friends come out for their first time this year! Oh, how I have missed you! We were also so thrilled to welcome new friends come out to the garden for their first time! Check out these playful brothers having fun with zucchini “swords” and “babies!”

Monday’s harvest total was 112 pounds! Whew! We pulled up our first few carrots of the season along with cabbage, zucchini, yellow squash, patty pan squash, cucumbers, broccoli, peppers, Pok Choi, and Swiss Chard.

While checking out the pumpkin patch, Syd found a little frog friend camouflaged in the leaves! Then we spied our first baby pumpkin behind the base of a gorgeous female flower! Grow big, strong and critter-resistant!

Thanks goes out to Victoria and Syd for helping
secure Scarecrow Bob to the squash tunnel following the gale-force winds the area experienced over the weekend. Thanks for helping with the downed cucumber teepees as well!

- Contributed by Kathy Luoma, Master Gardener


Victoria’s Veggies - Perfect Pizza Margarita 07-20-15

Victoria’s Veggies - Perfect Pizza Margarita 07-20-15

Did you know… Italian Chef Raffaele Esposito of Naples created Margherita pizza in 1889 in honor of Queen Margherita? That’s how this pizza got its name.

Today we picked basil to go with our lunch. We made a salad with lettuce, broccoli, basil, orange peppers, cucumbers and carrots. We used poppyseed dressing.

I recommend you use it; it’s really good!

Then we made the pizza! Here are the ingredients:

The recipe is from a book called Garden to Table by Katherine Hengel (Click link to view book)

  • ½ pound tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • olive oil
  • 12 inch prepared, uncooked pizza crust. We used the Doughboy roll-out kind from the tube
  • package.
  • 6 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 6 fresh basil leaves. We used more!
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a bowl combine chopped tomatoes, garlic, salt, and 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Set aside.
Put the pizza crust on a baking sheet. Brush it lightly with olive oil.
Top the crust with any type of mozzarella cheese.
Then add the tomato mixture.
Drizzle olive oil over the pizza.
Put it in the oven for 8-10 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly.

* Ours took longer using a pizza stone.
Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and basil leaves on top.
Let the pizza sit for 2-3 minutes
Cut into wedges and eat. Yum!

- Submitted by Victoria

Ellen, Leah, Tyler and Ryan's Daycare Field Trip to the Garden!

Leah, Ryan and Tyler's harvest!
Click on any photo to enlarge
"As a child, one has that magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unself-consciously to the soughing of the trees." 
Valerie Andrews, A Passion for this Earth

Ellen Kasper brought her grandchildren Leah, Tyler and Ryan Glick out for a daycare field trip to the Teaching Giving Garden this morning!  Their uncle Jonathan works for Retail, so not only did they get to enjoy the garden, their uncle was able to give them a complete tour.

The kids were very curious and checked out EVERYTHING as they walked through the garden!  They even got to see some of the first pumpkins in starting to grow in the pumpkin patch!

Ryan said his favorite vegetable is carrots. 
We talked about how we have Kaleidoscope carrots growing in our garden and we gave them a picture of the carrots so they could see what they will look like when the can be picked.

Tyler got to harvest a yellow squash, and Ryan and Leah each harvested a cucumber.  The Jr. Master Gardening group had just finished harvesting 112 pounds of produce, so there wasn’t very much to pick!

The kids got to peek inside of the compost turner, walk through the squash tunnel, see Scarecrow Bob (and give him a hug), and measure themselves against the corn.  Next time they visit I am sure the corn will be twice their height and Scarecrow Bob will be waiting for another hug!

Ellen, Tyler, Ryan and Leah, we can’t wait to see you again next time! 

- Submitted by Joni Fletty

Sick Bees...

Our resident beekeeper and Master Gardener, A.J. Moses stopped out today with his dad Don to check on our bee hives. Don is also a beekeeper and the two were out together for the day.

The news on one of our hives was not good.  We have sick bees.  A.J. thinks that they got into some kind of pesticide.

Our Corporate property does not use pesticides, so since bees can
travel about 2 miles, they may have come in contact from adjoining properties.  At this time we are not sure.  We are also checking to see if the recent mulch we put down may have been treated without our knowledge at some point before we purchased it.

A.J. Will be back out today to check on the hives.  Keep your fingers crossed that we don't have a complete collapse of that hive.


Good Bugs, Bad Bugs with the Adventure Club Kids!

I was joined by a lovely group of Adventure Club kids Friday along with their teachers, Tammy and Mary. We talked about kinds of insects that are good for our garden such as Lady Beetles and Bees and Monarch Butterflies. These friends eat aphids and help pollinate our plants.

Then we talked about the bad guys...though I can’t say they are really bad...just not so desirable for
our garden. Those would be the Japanese Beetles, Imported Cabbage Worms, Flea Beetles, Squash
Vine Borer, and Four-lined Plant Bug...just to name a few!

We filled containers with soapy water and went on a bug hunt removing the pests while observing the good guys in action.

Check out this link to insects in the garden for help identifying the visitors you may have in your
own plants!

- Contributed by Kathy Luoma, Master Gardener


We’re Going on a Veggie Hunt...with the Time for Me Preschool kids!

Time for Me Tots!
The Time for Me kids returned for their second visit to the garden this season. Last time, we observed the plants in their newly planted, baby stage. This time, we observed that these plants have grown into
teenagers and grown-up plants!

We began our time together with a familiar call and response chant you all may remember called, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.” It’s fun to pretend that we are traveling through tall grass, mud, rivers, mountains and caves to hunt for bears!

Though I doubt we have bears in our garden, we can do lots of hunting for veggies!

So, our little chant became “We’re Going on a Veggie Hunt, We’re Going to Pick Some Big Ones, What a Beautiful Day, Let’s Find Some _________! “ We had fun making our way through the garden picking zucchini, yellow squash, beets, turnips, and cucumbers.

Thanks for your helping hands today, friends!

See you in August when the corn is over your heads!

--Kathy Luoma, Washington County Master Gardener


Victoria’s Veggies! 07/14/15

We enjoy watching the honey bees visiting the flowers at the garden. Victoria discovered the
bottles of wildflower honey bottled by our beekeeper, AJ Moses. Here’s what she has to say
about honey.

“I think honey is very sweet! It tastes really good with other stuff. I even like it on my cucumber
slices.” You can try honey on crackers, too.”

Honey Crackers

Ritz Crackers (because they are my favorite)
Blue Cheese, Pepper Jack, Velveeta or Cheddar cheese, whatever is your favorite

Put crackers on a party tray.
Then take the cheese you like and cut it into little thin slices.
Then put it on top of a cracker.
Then get some honey and drizzle on top of cheese.

“You will like how the honey sweetens up the cheese.

To reuse a honey bottle, you could wash it well. Then put dish soap in it and squeeze it out into
your dishwater. It’s a creative way to reuse a bottle. “