Here at Retail Construction Services, Inc., we want to give back.

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.
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The RCS Giving Garden

The RCS Giving Garden


It’s HOT Out There!

The garden has been heating up recently with lots of kids, produce and fun.  Oh, and very high temperatures and humidity! :)

The Adventure Club and Spin kids finished Bobette the Scarecrow last week and felt it was important to make her wave to all who enter the garden.  They kids learned how to thin the carrots and hunt for squash bug eggs with Master Gardeners Deb and Christi.

Misting was a must on Monday!  No one was afraid of a little water while we worked to harvest the beans and peas.  

We learned something new about our potato plants.  We observed tomato-like growths on some of the plants near the flowers and wondered what they were!  Potatoes and Tomatoes are in the same  plant family.  According to this article, this growth is a sign the plant has been pollinated (thank you bees!) though the growths should NOT be eaten as they contain a high concentration of solanine.  Who knew?

The Time For Me preschoolers came back for their July visit on Wednesday.  While waiting for their arrival, Victoria and I sat in the back of my car and watched a sun shower pass through leaving us a faint rainbow of promise; a promise of the heat to come and the abundance of beans to pick!

The kids checked out their sunflower house which now is taller than they are!  We also read a story called Bee Dance informing us about the importance of bees’ movements as a communication tool!  Then we observed our beehives from afar and found honeybees collecting nectar and pollen from the flowers in the garden.

Before we ate watermelon, we picked cucumbers to take home!  Thanks for visiting the garden!


Busy As the Bees This Week!

We have reached the point in our summer where we are beginning to spend more time harvesting than weeding!  We are so thankful to have had Victoria and a group of Master Gardeners for Washington County tending to the garden on Monday.  Today, Master Gardener Paul and I were blessed to have the help from Summer Stretch kids from Woodbury Peaceful Grove UMC and Woodbury Christ Episcopal.  

When energy was high, the groups took turns weeding tomato, pepper, eggplant, radish and beet plants located in our first garden section.  They did a great job using the garden tools to get the root of the weed!  

Then came the harvesting!  Today we picked (and ate!) lots of raspberries, lettuce, spinach, herbs, pok choi, peas, beans, summer squash, and broccoli.  

Check out these Bug-Hunting girls!  Today’s finds were green Cabbage worms, Cucumber beetle nymphs and eggs and Japanese Beetles.  

Thank you for all of your hard work and cheerful attitudes today!  Today, you helped us to donate two big bins of produce totaling 12.5 pounds to our local food shelf, Valley Outreach.  
--Kathy Luoma, MG for Washington County

What Do Umbrellas and Watermelons Have in Common?

The RCS Giving Garden is so fortunate to have supportive partners!  Umbrellas plus watermelon combine to make a worthy and necessary re-hydration snack and shade area.  We send a huge thanks to OJ and Ruth Rustad from Advanced Dermatology Care for the donation of two large umbrellas on stands to use over our picnic tables.  We are so grateful for the shade!  We also wish to thank Jim Nelson and the staff at the Oak Park Heights Kowalski’s Market for donating watermelons each week to our volunteers who work in the garden. Both are a treat after working in the sunshine!  


Finally some rain!

Here’s what’s been happening in the garden!
Woodbury Christ Episcopal Church Summer Stretch kids spent the morning of July 6th weeding corn and tomatoes, constructing more tomato cages and harvesting!  The group picked 5 pints of raspberries, a big bunch of Swiss Chard, kale, Pok Choi, peppers, herbs and a lone zucchini!
Thanks for your hard work on this steamy day!  I was so very happy for the rain we received last evening. Although it made we humans a mucky mess, the plants were very hydrated!


Summer Stretch kids from Woodbury Peaceful Grove United Methodist Church, along with Summer Stretch kids from Stillwater area churches accomplished great things together
on June 29th!  
On a beautiful morning, these kids fertilized most of the garden plants, weeded and helped eliminate pesky bugs and squash bug eggs!  Your hard work left the garden in good shape for the holiday weekend!  Thanks all!

Stillwater Spin kids re-build our Scarecrow Bob into Scarecrow Bobette!  
On a gorgeous June 27th morning, the kids came out to help weed, learn about how to search for Squash Bug eggs along with other pesky garden bugs and to freshen up our scarecrow!  Bob has become Bobette and now has a fresh plaid shirt stuffed with new straw and a pink foam heart!  I love to see what kids can create when they are given the chance!  She’s almost finished, so stay tuned for final photos at their next visit!


Check out the Squash Bug eggs hidden on the undersides of the leaves of squash plants!  A little soapy water dish and a scrape with a finger took care of them!

How about a grasshopper visit as well?