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


Cucumber TePee's and First Veggie Donation

Back Row L to R:  Cassandra, Rob, Stuart, Logan
Front Row L to R:  Brooke, Megan, Sydney, Juliana, Emma, Jacob
(Click Photos to Enlarge)

It was another scorcher in the garden today! We had two of our interns, Rob Huston and Stuart Jennings from Iowa State University, join the Stillwater SPIN students in the garden to assemble the cucumber tepee’s.

Using a trellis to support the cucumber plants, or other vining vegetables, is the best way to grow beautiful and tasty cucumbers. Many gardeners have learned the hard way (including us) that letting cucumber vines just spread upon the ground is a good way to not have many cucumbers.

The plants are much more susceptible to diseases, such as powdery mildew, and can cause the fruit to rot on the bottom when they are allowed to spread on the ground. Not only does a trellis help prevent this, but it will also help save space in the garden. Growing cucumbers vertically can save several square feet of garden space, which could then be use for growing other vegetables. Over the next few weeks we will be training the plants to climb the structures.

The SPIN Students also finished spreading the last of our donated marsh hay in the third section of the garden. They also harvested raspberries and lettuce that they were going to bring over to the food shelf.

We saw many beads of perspiration on the faces of this great group of kids – AND on the interns as well! But better yet, were the smiles.

Thank you SPIN Students, and we will see you next Friday!

Thomas Edison said; “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” I’ve come to think this Giving Garden is a balanced 33% perspiration, 33% community and 33% pure enjoyment!

Cucumber Structures Completed!  (Click Photo to Enlarge)


Summer Stretch Takes on the Heat and a Dirty Job with Grace...

L to R:  Emily, Emma M., Emma G., Alex, Amanda and Mikaela
(Click to Enlarge Photos)
A butterfly, when it is emerging from its chrysalis, is folded, full of wrinkles and creases before it does the hard work of stretching and unfolding its wings. Not only does this process take hard work, but it takes incredible patience until those wings become smooth and dry before flapping them and taking flight.

It take hard work and patience to grow… not only do we see this in the garden, but through the opportunity to work with some amazing, hardworking and patient young adults throughout the seasons...

Today we had another Summer Stretch group in the garden. This, was no ordinary day! With the temperatures in the 90’s and a heat index we tried to ignore, this group of gals and their group leader, not only mounded the potato rows and weeded, but they spread marsh hay, that was donated by Houle’s, across 2/3’s of the garden! Talk about a hot and dirty job on a hot day!

Thank you Emily, Emma M, Emma G., Alex, Amanda, Mikaela and Sue for your extraordinary hard work today. It is always amazing to see the opportunities that come from hard work. Not only in the sharing of garden lessons, but in the sharing of laughter, big smiles, stories and many, many memories…

Truly – “Thank You”!!!

Opportunity is missed by most people
because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
                                           - Thomas Edison (1847-1931)
Mission Accomplished!   Great job gals!
(Click on any photo to enlarge)


SPIN kids return to the Garden!

(Click to Enlarge Photos) - At this posting, we do not have student names
The students from the Summer SPIN program returned to the garden today!   We had lost three rows of crop to some hungry weeds and needed to replant.

The students replanted lettuce, carrots and a new crop, beets in the garden.  We chose a wide row planting method that we tried last year.  Each of these seed crops was planted three seed wide in order to get more production in the garden.

While we didn't yet have Scarecrow Bob up in the garden for them to see (the kids made and donated a scarecrow last year), we hope to have it up this next week!

Thank you SPIN Students for all of your hard work!


Summer Stretch Students Return!

(Click to Enlarge Photo)

(Click to Enlarge Photo)
We had students from the Summer Stretch program return to the garden today.  The three major projects that they worked on were; finishing the tomato cages, stringing the beans, and stringing the pea pods.  All we can say is "wow"... yet another hard working group that really took charge and did a great job completing these tasks.

While we didn't get an offical group photo, we would like to extend a thanks to those who were out here.  Thank you to:  Madeline, Brean, Danielle, Claire, Alan, Jessica, Curlee, Evan, Michael and Jeany - Lake Elmo's CLC Summer Stretch 2012 group!

"Gardening requires lots of water -
most of it in the form of perspiration."
~Lou Erickson
Thank you Lake Elmo Summer Stretch for all of your hard work!


St. Croix Valley Summer Stretch Youth Return to the Giving Garden!

Back Row L to R:  Jeanne, Ben, Edna, Wyatt, Mathias
Front Row L to R:  Alydia, Leigh, Molly, Katie
(Click to enlarge photo)
It was once again that time of year where we see cars pull up in the parking lot, and the eager smiling faces of the first youth group of the season spill into the garden in a sea of bright green shirts. This St. Croix Valley Summer Stretch group was so enjoyable to work with!
The projects for the day were to build tomato cages around the tomato plants and to pinch the bottom branches and suckers of the plants.  Pruning tomato suckers is sometimes recommended because the resulting new stem is competing for nutrients with the original plant. You may be getting more fruits if you leave the suckers to grow, but the fruits will be smaller and the plant will be more cumbersome. Pruning tomato suckers is really just thinning the plants.

Click the link below to read more about this process:  What is a Tomato Sucker?

About ¾ of the way through the project we ran out of stakes for the cages. This great group of young adults weeded the lettuce before the weeds overtook them, cleared weeds in other sections and gave the garden a good drink of water. This group was led by Jeanne and Edna who did a great job in sharing gardening information. In a conversation with Edna, she shared some of her many years of gardening experience and knowledge. We look forward to even more conversations with Edna where we can learn and grow from someone with so much experience!

“If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life.” ~Author Unknown

The laugher and smiles have returned to the Giving Garden. “Summer Stretch Youth; your contributions to this Giving Garden this summer will have an important impact in your community through the food you are helping to grow and donate.”

“Thank you” Summer Stretch, and we look forward to seeing you back in the garden this next Wednesday!