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.

See what else RCS and the Giving Garden are up to:
Like Us on Facebook& Follow Us on Twitter

The RCS Giving Garden

The RCS Giving Garden


Andersen Windows Blows Away the Four Year Picking Record!

L to R:  Jon Ellefson, Alicia Siggens, Annie Lanzen, Katie Tjader,
John Siggens, Johnny Siggins and Paul Sinz
(Click on any photo to enlarge)

Andersen Windows picked 363 lbs of produce today, blowing away the record set back on Sept 2nd, 2011 by Willis of Minnesota insurance company with a weight of 262.6 lbs.  This Andersen group broke the last Andersen record of 60 lbs by 294.2 lbs!


Luoma and Laubscher Families in the Garden!

L to R:  Elise Luoma, Stacy Laubscher, Hailey Laubscher,
Kathy Luoma and Graham Laubscher (Click on any photo to enlarge)


Records Breaking Last Day for the SPIN Students!

L to R:  Jordyn, Emma (in pink), Kathy (Master Gardener), McKenzie,
Matt, Jacob, Lisa, Henry (zucchini head ;) and Megan.
(Click on any photo to enlarge)

Megan with Master Gardener Kathy

 What a BEAUTIFUL day to be in the garden, 75 and sunny - perfect weather to be outside. By the time we walked out of our office to meet the kids, they were already in the garden and busy picking produce! We were also joined in the garden by Kathy Luoma, Master Gardener from Washington County.

"Curt the Corn Guy"

We knew our corn might be ready, so Joy had “Curt the Corn Guy” come out to the garden to give a quick lesson on if the corn was ready to pick. Ready indeed! The students picked 35.9 lbs of corn! We noticed a path had been mowed down in the corn indicating that we may have had a larger animal visitor in the corn patch one evening… hmmm, deer perhaps?

Tomatillo's are Ready!

Matt asked if we could show him what a ripe Tomatillo tomato looked like. As we were showing him that they fill out the outside paper covering and it splits at the bottom, he found a bunch that were ripe! This is the first day we have had ripe tomatillo tomatoes! Matt was then able to share and teach the other students what to look for.

Jacob - The Corn King!

We surprised the students with a garden veggie pizza and chocolate zucchini bread to celebrate spending a summer with them. (Click on each food item to bring up the recipe) We talked about the garden, favorite memories, and favorite things to pick and eat. We also dubbed each student as King or Queen of their favorite veggies to pick… See pictures below to see!
Emma - The Broccoli Queen!

Jordyn - The Zucchini Queen!

Matt - The Tomatillo and Eggplant King!

After reminiscing about favorite garden memories, the students headed outside to bring in all of the produce… and guess what?! Today they broke the standing 2012 record! The students picked a whopping 153.9 lbs of food for the food shelf!

Henry - The Pepper King!

McKenzie - The Tomato Queen!

Megan - The Bean Queen!

Once again, we said goodbye to the White and Red school bus for the season. I want to thank Tammy Palmer for bringing these students out each week during the summer and her helpers that have come to the garden, Lisa and Cassandra.

Until next year – we will miss you guys!
Thank you for another GREAT year!

Click to play photo slideshow


SPIN Corn Maze!

SPIN Students in our verion of a Corn Maze!  (Click any photo to enlarge)
The SPIN Students returned to the garden today, only to find a peculiar sight! At the top of one of the cucumber tee-pee’s sat a lone cucumber with a yellow color to it. We are still checking to see if this one plant is a lemon cucumber plant, or if we have a nutrient deficiency in our soul. However, it seems that it is only this one plant that has more yellow cucumbers with some of them looking more like round balls!

Questions came up from the students to Joy in our office about why the corn was not ready and what to look for when it will be. Joy recruited Curt in our office, our resident ‘corn expert’ to answer the questions.

Front Row L to R:  Michael, Emma
Back Row L to R:  Jonn, Joe, Lisa, Sydney

So, “How do you know when corn is ready to be picked?” Corn is ready as soon as the ears have completely filled out. This goes for sweet corn and roasting ears. You can tell when this happens by feeling the end of an ear. If it's rounded or blunt rather than pointed, the ears are ready. The silks also dry up when the ears are almost ready to be picked.

If you don't trust your judgment, you can pull back a bit of the husk and check to see if the ear looks well filled and the kernels are creamy yellow or white. Many gardening guides tell you to pierce a kernel with your thumb nail to test for ripeness. If the liquid inside is watery, that ear isn't quite ready. If the liquid is white or "milky," you're in business. Click here for an article on this by the National Gardening Association.

Click Photos to Enlarge
Then a 2nd corn question was asked: “How will we get into the corn?” You see, we planted our rows only 2’ apart this year – so Joy, in her fun spirited way, told the students “Follow ME!" You can see by the collage of corn pictures that they had a lot of fun just making their way from one end to the other… a corn maze of their very own!

The morning was finished by picking zucchini, cucumbers, egg plant (a LOT), beans, peas, etc . . . They noticed one eggplant and one pepper plant had toppled over and needed rescuing, so they staked that plants up. From there they brought 62 lbs of produce to Valley Outreach food shelf.

Logging the produce after weighing it!

This next Friday is the last day that the SPIN program will be in the garden. Where did the summer go? We will miss seeing the white and red bus pull into the parking lot, but we also know that we will be seeing it again this next year. We also hope that the students come to visit the garden on their own with their families!

SPIN Students, we will see you next Friday!
Thank you!
Click to start photo slideshow


What do you get when you cross Eggplant, and Toads?

Front Row L to R:  Ben, Jason, Rachel
Back Row L to R:  Shannon Maron, Haylea, Amelia, Libby,

Mackenzie, Anna, Shannon Hecksel

Click to enlarge any of the photos
Well, the toads weren’t purple, and the eggplant wasn’t lumpy bumpy…! However, the mix did make for some fun in the garden this morning.

The Giving Garden welcomed a group today from St. Peter Lutheran Church in Afton, MN. Not only did we have many helping hands this morning, but lots of toads! We have a LOT of toads in the garden this year and that is a very good thing! These young adults took turns with one little toad they found, passing him around, then as gently as they passed him around, they placed him back in the garden. I’ll bet he is still hanging out amongst the zucchini!

Attracting toads is the dream of many gardeners. Having toads in the garden is very beneficial as they naturally prey on insects, slugs and snails, up to 10,000 in a single summer. Having a resident toad keeps the pest population down and reduces the need for harsh pesticides or labor intensive natural controls. Let’s take a look at how to attract toads to your garden. Click here to find out how to attract toads to your garden!

The group also picked anything that was ready; beans, purple beans, tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini, peppers, cucumber peas and the favorite? EGGPLANT! The only three young guys of the group were pretty impressed with the eggplant and had a photo op to show off their garden finds.

A lot of weeding was completed, especially in the potato patch, and the weeds soon found a new home under our solar panel to decompose.

Thank you so much to St. Peter Lutheran Church for sending such a fun group of kids to work with!
Click to begin video slideshow