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


Friday in the Garden

Five master gardeners gathered in the Giving Garden on the Friday before Labor Dayto harvest and weed.  It was fun for all of us to work side by side with other experienced gardeners, share stories of our gardens and admire the beautiful  produce.

Cucumbers, zucchini, buttercup squash, eggplant, green and purple beans, peppers, tomatoes................this time of year is the gardener's reward for the time and energy spent tending the garden through the season.   Together we picked 176.1 pounds of produce.

Comments such as "Ah, look what I found!" got the attention of us all as we shook our heads at  a beautiful squash that had been gnawed on by some veggie hungry wildlife - likely a raccoon.  A "conjoined" cucumber.  (see photo).   Petite brussel spouts growing on the plants central stalk.

I wonder what we will find when we meet back in the garden on Tuesday after Labor Day?!

- Deb Lynch


Evening Honey Harvest with AJ Moses

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Remember those beehives that were added to the RCS property last spring?  We have enjoyed watching those honeybees working hard collecting nectar and pollinating our garden all summer, and on an August evening we were invited back to watch Master Gardener and beekeeper AJ Moses harvest the honey produced by those wonderful little bees! 

Safe behind the office window!
We kept our distance watching from an inside window
while AJ suited up and used a technique to move the bees to a lower part of the hive by using a very smelly covering. The bees thought the odor unpleasant, too!  Then he pulled a frame to show us where the honey is stored.  Once the bees moved on to another area of the hive, he brought us the frame to inspect!  We used little bamboo sticks to carefully remove the outer
beeswax covering on a few of the hexagon-shaped holes and then let the honey drip onto our stick and then onto a cracker or just directly into our mouths!  Sweet goodness!

The remainder of the honey will be donated to Valley Outreach so other families will have an opportunity to try this natural treat.  Thanks, AJ!  And, thank you, honeybees!

- Kathy Luoma, Washington County Master Gardener


Garden Donations Reach Just Over 14,000 lbs!

Through this week, our garden has donated 14,004.3 lbs of food to the food shelf since 2009!


SPIN Kids Last Summer Visit to the Garden!

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The SPIN kids returned for a final time this summer.  Just about all the vegies – except the tomatoes and winter squash – were ready to be picked.

Teams of two volunteers quickly picked the green, purple and rose beans; zucchini and cucumbers, edamame and lettuces.  We checked the tomatoes but they needed another week to ripen. 

The garden grew quiet – what should we do?  Then one student quietly asked, “Can we check the carrots?”  What excitement as each volunteer chose one or two carrots to pull from the patch!  To our surprise there were orange and purple carrots growing in the same row. We only pulled enough to thin the patch and left the remainder to grow bigger over the next few weeks. 

We harvested 28 pounds of veggies!  (And quite a few pounds of weeds from the squash patch)

SPIN volunteers and teacher, thank you for your help this summer.  You were great volunteers and fun to teach and work with in the garden!


Junior Master Gardeners Hard at Work in August!

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Much of our August harvesting has been completed by the Junior Master Gardener kids along with their families and friends.  We thank all of you for all you do to help make this garden a fun place to learn, play and provide fresh food for others.  THANKS TONS!  

- Kathy Luoma, WCMG



Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me… EXCITED TO PICK VEGGIES!

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Ryan, Hannah and I braved the rain on this Monday morning and picked 59 pounds of vegetables.

Despite feeling a little soggy, we experienced lots of veggie laughs… from silly-shaped cucumber “I Love You” messages, to monstrous tomatoes, to the Statue of Corn-Liberty…who knew veggies could be so fun!

We must pass on a word of caution, however;  

If one chooses to wear RED SHOES to harvest tomatoes, one can expect his or her feet to be picked a time or two!

Thanks for your help today kids!
- Contributed by Kathy Luoma, Master Gardener


Playing Hide and Go Seek with the Hidden Squash!

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Harvest Day with help from the SPIN kids!  With so many vegetables ready to harvest it was hard to decide where to start.  So we divided into teams and tackled rows of beans, cucumbers and zucchini.

It is sometimes hard to find the
zucchini as they hid in the bottom of the plants underneath the large
umbrella leaves.  But we were persistent because we didn't want any of the vegetables turning into monster sized squash!

A highlight of the picking was tasting fresh edamame- the green soybeans.  They grow in a pod that resembles peas except it is very fuzzy.  

We only picked the pods where we could easily see or feel the soybeans inside had reached a mature size.  Then we popped open a few for sampling.  Yum!

We harvested 52 pounds of veggies.  

Contributing writer - Deb Lynch, WC Master Gardener


A Time for Me Learn about "Tops & Bottoms"!

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The Book "Tops & Bottoms"!
This morning the kids from A Time For Me came to help in the garden.  We started with a story called Tops and Bottoms and talked about what part of vegetable plants we eat – the tops, the bottoms or the middles.

Then we went into the garden to look for some of the vegetables that were in the story.  We had fun finding the carrots,
eggplant, beets, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes and corn. And as we went through the garden, we saw that some things needed to be harvested, so we picked some of the cucumbers, eggplant and zucchini and almost all of the ripe tomatoes.  We ended up harvesting 25 pounds of produce!

Then we found the edamame and we wanted to see what they tasted like.  The seed pods are fuzzy on the outside, but when you open up the pods, the big seeds inside taste really good. 

We also tasted some of the green beans.  Yum!

Thank you to our helpers, we had so much fun in the garden today!

- Liz Nordling - 
Washington County Master Gardener Intern