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


Time to Harvest Veggies AND Japanese Beetles!

Every year they arrive in a feeding frenzy!  This 2017 season the Japanese Beetles have decided that the pole beans are their caviar!  Actually, I believe the mature linden trees bordering the RCS property are the first enticement, and the pole beans just happen to be in closest proximity.  Before we even begin to harvest vegetables, we have been brushing these destructive bronze beauties into tubs of soapy water just to repeat the procedure at the end of our time together.  Here’s what the University of Minnesota Extension Entomologist, Jeff Hahn, has to say about Japanese Beetles in your garden:

Our latest and greatest volunteers have battled the heat recently!  We sure do thank you for your service!  The garden is looking just great.

7/10/17 Adventure Club
Summer Squash comparisons!
Mulching peppers with shredded paper
Learning how to thin the carrot rows...and then eating the babies for a snack!
                             Identifying this new visitor as a Six-Spotted Green Tiger Beetle

Day of Service for Stillwater Area Schools Day of Service--7/11/17
We had 30 middle schoolers help us weed, water, harvest and help RCS staff install our cattle panel squash and cucumber climbing structures.

Summer Stretch Woodbury UMC and Woodbury Christ Lutheran churches 7/12/17

Spin Kids 7/17/17
Japanese Beetle Patrol!

Our Master Gardener extraordinaire, Sue, spraying cabbage worm frass from our plants.


When a Weed is a Superfood?
Meet Purslane!
This little bugger of a weed is trying to take over our kale and Swiss chard area of the garden!  Turns out this ‘weed’ called Purslane is probably more nutrition-packed than other vegetables we actually mean to grow.  Purslane is loaded with more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy green plant and is also a rich source of Vitamin A and C.  I have noticed purslane as an addition to salads on restaurant menus recently as well.  Hmmm...maybe this weed needs to be harvested instead of composted?  It’s quite juicy and tasty!  As always, we must be careful not to ingest plants until we know they are safe.  I was careful not to mix this one up with a similar plant called hairy-stemmed spurge.  

Volunteers in the Garden This Week
Adventure Club and Spin kids help stake and fertilize tomato plants.  

Spinach plants in our raised beds decided it was too hot to produce any more decent leaves and bolted, which means the plant moved to producing seed in order to reproduce.  The kids helped us remove the plants and replanted the beds with Swiss Chard which can handle more summer heat.
We picked our first zucchini of the season!  AJ Moses, our beekeeper, taught us that typically our squash and cucumber plants need to be visited by a bee eight times to be properly pollinated.  The curve and deformity in this zucchini probably means it wasn’t visited by a pollinator quite as often as necessary to make it straight.  We ate it, and it still tasted great!
Thanks to you kids and to Master Gardeners Sue and Liz for your help!

Rain, and lots of it, forced us to cancel our Woodbury UMC Summer Stretch teen helpers for Wednesday.  We will see them again soon!  The weather cooperated for Thursday when we were visited by the 6th grade Hidden Pines Ranch kids.  They came to us from their camp sleep-over and managed to stay awake and work hard!  Thanks to the kids and their counselors Ike and Natalie for all of your help!  Thanks also to Olivia for your service!
The kids learned to hand-pollinate squash flowers with paint brushes and Q-tips just as the bees do.  Finishing building tomato support structures and harvesting 5.5 pounds of kale, lettuce, pok choi, summer squash, zucchini and peppers (yes, peppers!) completed our morning.

--submitted by Master Gardener Kathy Luoma


Thankful for Supportive Community!

It’s great to have friends!  The RCS Giving Garden is happy to know others recognize the good things this garden is doing for others!  A big thanks goes out to the folks at Bergmann’s Greenhouse in Stillwater for their donation of replacement vegetable plants following the hail storm we received earlier this month.  It was so kind of you to reach out to us to see how the garden survived. Thankfully, we just lost a handful of plants that were snapped at the stem.

Thanks so very much to Kowalski’s Market in Oak Park Heights for their weekly donation of watermelons to serve to our volunteers and keep them hydrated.  We appreciate this generous healthy snack addition.  Students from Spin and Adventure Club made some thank you cards to share their appreciation!  

Thanks also to Mary L. from RCS!  She is one amazing watermelon carver, and we appreciate her willingness to prepare it for us each time we have kids in the garden.    

Our latest volunteers in action!
June 15th--Hidden Pines Ranch Day Camp 6th graders learn how to weed and plant replacement tomatoes!  We are so happy to have HPR as a weekly partner this season!

June 19th--Adventure Club and Spin kids learn about the role HONEYBEES play in the RCS Giving Garden for National Pollinators Week!!  AJ Moses, Master Gardener and beekeeper shared his expertise with the kids.  We always love an AJ visit and know we will get to try some honey right off of a frame!  Welcome back to Victoria as she is able to help us at the garden this year again as well!  

June 21st-- Summer Stretch teens from Stillwater area churches and Woodbury United Methodist Church.
This large group of teens banded together to tackle WEEDS, lots of WEEDS!  They took on the task of weeding sprouted straw (grrrr!) in the strawberry beds with help from MG Sandy and college volunteer Olivia. MG Eileen had kids help her weed the tomato and pepper area.  We appreciate the hard work these kids put into their morning of service.