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


Donation and Propagation at the RCS Giving Garden

Some of the SPIN kids with bags of produce ready
for Valley Outreach Food Shelf!!!
What a difference two weeks makes!

We got together this week after a week off and noticed changes in the Giving Garden. As always, we started our visit by scouting:

1. Raspberries were ready for harvest and had Japanese beetles to be knocked off.
2. Pak choi and kale were ready for harvest as well. We observed that it took two weeks for a new crop of leaves to grow large enough to be cut. The leaves had been nibbled on by little black flea beetles but would still be tasty when cooked. The leaves, not the beetles!
3. Japanese beetles were also heavy on the bush beans.

Cabbageworm larva camouflaged along midvein
of Brussels sprout leaf

4. Cabbageworm larvae were on the undersides of the Brussels sprouts leaves. We learned to spot where the camouflaged larvae were by identifying their frass (caterpillar poo).

Squash vine borer adult and squash
bug eggs on summer squash leaf

5. Squash bugs, their eggs and nymphs were heavy on the summer and winter squash plants.
6. A squash vine borer adult was on a summer squash plant.
Zucchini ready for harvest!
7. A few zucchini, cucumbers, rutabagas, beets and beans were ready for harvest.

We split up into teams, put on gloves and got to work knocking, squishing, cutting and bagging!

After the harvest was weighed and recorded we got together at the herb pots for a lesson in propagation.

Basil and Rosemary
propagated cuttings
Samples of basil that were cut two weeks ago and put into water had long roots growing all along the stems. We cut any basil stems that were long, trimmed the extra leaves and put the stem cuttings into glasses of water. The trimmed leaves were donated.

Rosemary stems were also cut and the lower leaves were stripped to reveal stiff, woody stems. These cuttings were stuck into moist potting soil.

As a group we decided that in two weeks, when roots have formed on the cuttings, we will pot them up and donate the new plants to our neighbors at Valley Outreach. We know the plants will be appreciated.

During our lesson one of our new SPIN friends said: “I’ve wondered why people like to go to the Giving Garden and now I know why!” We know that once you catch the Giving Garden “bug” you can’t stay away.

University of Minnesota Extension – Master Gardener reference link: What Insect is This?

- Contributing writer, Master Gardener Phyllis