Retail Construction Services, Inc. is dedicated to giving back.

We give back not only to those in need within our community, but also the future generations of this wonderful community. What started out as a great idea has grown exponentially and has become an amazing reality. Here at the RCS Giving Garden, school groups, master gardeners, corporate volunteers, and our own employees work together for the common good of teaching children the art of gardening and the importance of healthy eating. Click Here for Full Story.

Retail Construction Services, Inc.
11343 39th Street N.
Lake Elmo, MN 55042

From HWY 36 - go south on Lake Elmo Ave, turn left onto 39th Street, garden is at corner of 39th and Laverne.
From HWY 5- going west from Stillwater take right onto Laverne (near Fury dealership) garden is on the right at corner of Laverne and 39th street.

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The RCS Giving Garden

The RCS Giving Garden



Even the Bunnies and the Snakes…

This photo taken in a garden center in Florida caught my attention yesterday.  The RCS Giving Garden certainly does have a healthy ecosystem of which to be proud. Despite my frustrations with the rabbit population continually decimating the bean crop and the surprise (or in my case, FRIGHTEN ME SO BADLY THAT I JUMP garden is WONDERFUL!  We already have picked 420 pounds of fresh produce OUT OF MY SKIN) garter snakes that seem to appear more than any other year, our for our volunteers and Valley Outreach. We have been visited by over 400 children filled with energy and curiosity about a garden, and it’s not even August yet!

Here’s what’s been happening in the garden this past month!

July 30--Vegetable giants!
Stillwater Spin kids taking home some ‘loot!”
Imagination time!  What vegetable would you create based on favorite characteristics?
RasCorn? Cabamato? Corncchini? Rastatoe?

July 26th--Hidden Pines Ranch kids picking broccoli and kohlrabi
Borage flower eyeballs on our fresh-picked snack!

July 25--Woodbury Christ Episcopal Church Summer Stretch kids with slithering friends!
Great volunteers each and every year!
The Grove UMC Summer Stretch kids and some of the harvest. Also great volunteers each and every year!

July 24--Time For Me Learning kids enjoying the harvest!

The first of the season Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and magic purple beans!  Too bad the bunnies ate the “Jack’s Magic Beans” corner these kids planted early in the season!

A day with kids in the garden is a perfect day for a monarch to enclose/hatch!  This one is a male monarch identified by the two black spots in the lower wing areas.

July 23--Stillwater Spin kids harvest 90 pounds! Fresh herbs and squash blossoms make a good addition to our snack!

July 16--Stillwater Spin kids helped harvest and paint our new compost bin panels.
A few kids in the group think we are growing Green Bay Packer squash!

4-H Day Camp--July 12
65 kids in the garden...a record!
We are happy to have a new partnership with our local 4-H kids in Washington County!  A group of Washington County Master Gardeners guided the kids through garden discovery, taught them about Monarch Butterfly Migration and the dangers monarchs face, and investigated the difference in taste between store-bought veggies and fresh-picked veggies.  Let’s just say we know which was the winner!
Thanks to all of our July volunteers!



The good news?  The groups of kids are back in the garden three days a week!  
They are so fun to have in the garden buzzing around like bees filled with curiosity and questions.  They have harvested herbs, summer squash, cucumbers, radish and lots of strawberries. Scroll through the photos below to see what they have been up to.

The bad news?  The garden has been quite the challenge this season!  The excessive heat at critical germination time, heavy rains and RABBITS thinking our garden is their personal salad bar has certainly affected our crops.  Some seed crops such as beets, chard and beans have been planted a few times and are still failing. The weeds sure haven’t had a problem, however, nor have the newly emerged Japanese Beetles eating as though there’s no tomorrow.  Even our new bee hive, which was thriving earlier, faced a grave demise when Doug, our new beekeeper and Master Gardener, discovered a disease called American Foulbrood which required removal, destruction and burning of the hive.  Ouch!
Being a gardener/farmer/beekeeper can be discouraging sometimes, that’s for sure.  When I look at the faces of the children below, it’s all it takes to remind me that this garden concept is worth it!

Here’s the latest article from the UMN Extension Garden on July Vegetable Gardening To-Do.  

Thanks go out to all the volunteer groups and their leaders, the Washington County Master Gardener volunteers and RCS staff for the joint effort it takes to keep the RCS Giving Garden growing and thriving in its 9th year!

*July 5th--Hidden Pines Ranch teens helping install squash and cucumber trellis’ to keep the vines and fruit growing vertically.



*July 3rd--Arbor Glen Seniors (our new neighbors a block to the west) take a garden detour while out for a walk!  They were excited to be the recipients of the produce.  


*June 28--Hidden Pines Ranch Middle-Schoolers pick herbs and weeds!  They sampled purslane (yes, purslane the weed that is so high in nutrients!) and rhubarb!  

*June 27--Woodbury UMC Summer Stretch weed and thin carrots


*June 18--Spin Kids discover the first Japanese Beetles of the year, tour the garden to determine which part of each plant we eat and taste-tested rhubarb.  Look at those faces!



*June 21--Hidden Pines Ranch kids construct tomato trellis’


*June 20--Summer Stretch kids weeding away!


*June Harvest!


*New Educational Signs!


*June 13--Summer Stretch kids from Trinity Lutheran Church plant herbs
grown by Master Gardener Judy Lacy


*June 12--Time For Me Early Learning kids come for their first visit of the season and learn about baby plants, strawberries and Jack’s Magic Beans.  Too bad those bunnies are sabotaging our bean fort!


*June 11th- Spin kids from the Stillwater Area School District were our first group of the season!  The strawberries and radish were perfect for the picking, and waiting until the end of our session to eat them made them squirm!  It was worth the wait!