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


Taste Testing, Grocery Store vs. Garden Fresh Veggies... and the Verdict is? - Story to Post Soon!

Adventure Club and SPIN Youth
Click on any photo to enlarge
Youth from both the Adventure Club and SPIN came out to the garden this morning.  What a GORGEOUS day!  Breezy, cooler, low humidity and lots of kids!  What more could a garden ask for?

We started by taking a look at our latest two spaghetti squash to climb the squash trellis.   We needed to
support the growing squash fruit because the grow large and heavy.  We made a sling out of nylon stockings.  We slipped the nylon from the bottom up, and then tied a knot on a close rung of the cattle pen.  

We also got to see the progress of our pumpkin patch and took a photo next to one of the boys foot to see in comparison how much they have grown.

We allowed a little extra room for adjustment as the squash grows. 

Then it was time for taste testing grocery store veggies vs. fresh garden veggies.  We compared cucumbers, tomatoes and carrots.  Hands down, the winner of the taste test was the fresh garden veggies!

Next we had a taste test between three types of our garden tomatoes.  We tried a Green Zebra tomato, an orange heirloom tomato, and a Redfield Beauty red tomato. 

The winner….?  Green Zebra!

Next we tried the different types of Kaleidoscope Carrots that we are growing.   Purple Dragon Carrot, a white carrot, a yellow carrot and a short and sweet orange carrot.  This time it was a tie between the Purple 
Dragon and the yellow carrots!

Our conversation then turned to extinction, and I asked “Did any of you know that we have food that is extinct?”  The question was met with wide eyes.  Everyone knows about the dinosaurs, but few know about food becoming extinct!

So the next question was “Who likes to eat strawberries in the winter?”  Almost everyone’s hand went up, so we shared the following;

“Andean farmers once grew some 4,000 potato varieties, each with its own name, flavor, and use, ranging in size from tiny to gigantic and covering the color spectrum from indigo-purple to red, orange, yellow and white. It use to be that people ate what they grew locally and what was in season. With the increased appetite for produce that was out of season (eating strawberries in December as an example), and the increased demand to ship produce all over the world, farmers had to start breeding varieties that held up in boxcars, trucks, or ship’s cargo. Now, even in the regions of Peru least affected by the modern market, only a few dozen potato varieties are widely
grown.” From Barbara Kingsolver’s amazing book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”

Here is an interesting website that talks about endangered food!

In an effort to help restore some of the heirloom varieties, the RCS Teaching Giving Garden introduces new heirloom veggies to the garden every year and we promotes Seed Savers

Their mission is to, “ conserve and promote America's culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.”

This group was hard working with its harvest, and today we surpassed 700 pounds donated to the Valley Outreach Food Shelf!  The Patty Pan Squash that look like space ships seems to be everyone's favorite, and they enjoy recording the production count for the University of Minnesota's seed trial.

Oh, and one ambitious guy proved to be one of the best Japanese Beetle catchers.  With his cup of soapy water, he 
conquered many, many beetles today!

They finished the morning by finishing off an entire bowl of nice cold, very sweet watermelon, along with more  cucumber, carrots and tomatoes. 

There were a lot of watermelon smiles as the got back on the bus!

Thank you Adventure Club and SPIN – see you next Friday!
- Contributed by Joni Fletty