Category: Uncategorized

5th grader, Sami Amanthakrishnan’s Overview of the TMA Garden

Tended by classes of all grades, the school garden has flourished and developed from the very beginning, when it was just it was just a mound of dirt and weeds, ready for fertilization to grow vegetables, fruits, flowers, all of different varieties. Soon as helping hands including the upper and lower grades joined in, the garden started to bloom as ideas combined, and slowly made the many sections of plants we’ve seen in the recent years. These sections consist of a handful of flowering buds of fruit, vegetables assorted in neat rows including rose red strawberries, and just flowers in general. But out of all those masses of greenery, the best place in the T.M.A garden in my opinion would be the touch and smell piece, where you can really get a feel of plants, and the unique traits each individual flower or leaf carries. This section is tucked in a corner of the garden, and is a place for all those who wish to have a depth of understanding of plants, using all four senses to learn about specific varieties of flowers, and simply just things like Rosemary.

Scattered all over the garden and quite near to the touch and feel plants, are the most noticeable vegetables and fruits in the garden, all which are in the expanse of little planters and spaces, meant for students to experience the joy of having a green thumb. But because students get to pluck and pull what they planted to bring home, the garden as you might have noticed is always different, for classes always plant new things in the space provided for them. Even if being in the garden is always plenty of fun for everyone, it’s still even better when you start exploring, for things are absolutely never the same. With things including small trees and bushes, some of which have interlocking flowers in their branches, there is always much to water. So where exactly do we get the water? This question was solved with brothern and cistern, and in some places, a network of chains to lead rainwater to the soil. This network let the volunteers who wanted to tend to the garden, the advantage of not having to water some parts whenever it rained. Also, with the two cylinder shaped bins, (brothern and “sistern”) when the need of water arises, those two bins always happen to be filled to the brim from previous rainstorms and drizzles. This brilliant system helped to manage maintaining the garden, along with the effort from classes and volunteers, and not to mention good fertilizer from composters like earthworms. So finally with all that hard work focused entirely on the garden, it’s no surprise that it created the environment for all, butterflies, bees and students alike.

By Sami

Adam Whyte Enjoys the TMA Store


Adam Whyte said his teacher asked him to draw what he liked to do with his mom. So, he drew a picture of the Garden Sale. He drew the TMA Store, flowers, pumpkin bread and a green plastic pitcher his mom uses for smoothies. Adam said he likes the sale because he buys pumpkin bread, lemon pops and seaweed. (Naomi Dei Rossi's kale chips!) Next year Adam will be an incoming Kindergartener.

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Parking Lot Sale–Save the Date


Join the Can You Dig It Garden Committee in the TMA Garden, Saturday, March 9 from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. We'll be selling tomato, bell pepper, hot pepper, squash, cucumber and zucchini plants grown in the TMA garden.

Pick up some plants for your garden while supporting the TMA PTO!

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Weed War!


How did the weed war begin? In the touch and feel garden the lavender bush and some other plants have been taken over by the crab grass. Jordan Jones and Emma Schwarz from Mrs. Helig's fourth-grade class are looking for powerful students to fight the crab grass and win the victory.

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Life Cycles and This Year’s Expectations


In October, Mrs. Olson’s second-grade students visited the garden to learn about life cycles and how they relate to what they’ll be learning in the garden this year--worm composting.

Julianna had this to say about her experience:

“My experience with Mr. Hay was awesome. My favorite parts were drawing in journals and learning about the life cycle movements and doing them over, and over, and over again. Also, I loved watching over the worms in the black water-looking bin. I saw a couple friends holding the worms. I saw a couple of friends getting pooped on by the worms. YUCK! That was a fun experience. I love the TMA Garden.”

Without a doubt, they came away from the experience with a lot of excitement and are ready to put their new knowledge to work.

Charlotte is ready for all of the fun this year.

“I am looking forward to doing composting this year. It sounds really fun. I just can’t wait to plant some seeds. I want to learn more about butterflies this year. It sounds really fun. I like the slimy worms. The only thing I don’t really like about the worms is that they poop and pee on you but they’re still fun to play with and learn about. I want to see all the nice, ripe and sweet plants in the garden. I want to learn more about butterflies, plants and earthworms. I want to review all the things I learned with Mr. Hay again. I can’t wait to go back to the garden.”


Jack is ready to take action to make the garden grow, but is curious how long it will take to see the fruits of his labor.

“This year I am looking forward to doing a lot of fun things in the garden. I want to learn about how we can help make the garden even better then it is right now. I think I can make it better by watering it every time I go there. I also want to learn how long it takes for one plant to grow. In the future, I would like to help get food for the worms to make more soil (worm poop). I want to see the insides of a plant too. I think it will be a fun year in the garden.”


Finally, Medha is very interested to learn about how bugs help our plants.

“I am looking forward to learning about worms, life cycles, planting seeds and investigating fruits. I am very interested in plants and seeds. I want to learn about bugs that help plants grow. I like to take care of bugs and examine them. I want to check out compost piles and castings. This year it will be awesome to learn about plants and seeds.”

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TMA Family Makes Generous Seed Donation to Our Garden


A big thank you to TMA 3rd grader, Joshua Both, his parents Carol and Dave Turner and Orchard Hardware Supply in Santa Ana, for donating more than $1,000 worth of Renee's Garden garden seeds.

Grades K-5 will be planting seeds from this generous donation in the coming months. Thank you Joshua and company for helping our garden grow!

The TMA Garden is so lucky to have support from parents, companies and community organizations. Without their help we wouldn't be able to give our kids the interactive garden experience they deserve.

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The Blog That Wears Many Hats


In this busy world that we live in, it's great to go to one place that has everything you're looking for, such as Target and Costco. Why do think we spend so much money at those places each year?

Like those popular retail stores, this blog is your one-stop shop for TMA Garden information--whether you're a parent, student or Garden Master.

This week the Garden Masters, and you know who you are, attended their workshop training. During the training, they were told to visit our blog to get the resources necessary to perform their jobs in the garden.

The tabs along the top of this blog link to those resources:

Garden Layout
This shows you the current lay of the land in the garden for the 2012-13 school year. You'll see the location of the class beds and what they're growing

Find out what is happening in the garden each day. You'll see who's working in the garden as well as upcoming events, such as the cooking demos and trainings.

Visitation Schedules
Get the class visitation schedule for the entire year.

Garden Masters
Learn about the garden volunteer opportunities for each grade. Choose from planters, maintainers, explorers, composters and more. This tab includes descriptions and instructions for each Garden Master job.

Here you'll find the contact information for our parent garden team.

The TMA blog is also a great place to get information on upcoming events, garden stories from student bloggers, recipes using produce grown in our garden and details about community members who generously donate to our garden.

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Our Garden Is All A Buzz With Lots of Events Next Week


Starting this Sunday, we're hosting a handful of events in the garden. So mark your calendars and get ready for a busy but fun week.

Garden Beautification Day
Sunday, Sept. 30 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
If you can't get your volunteer hours done during the week, here's your chance to get them on the weekend. We'll be sprucing up the garden and getting beds ready for the students to start planting. Bring water, sunscreen, gloves and a snack. Hope to see you there. For details, contact Naomi Dei Rossi at (714) 724-8838.

Garden Master Training Workshop
Thursday, Oct. 4 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
This mandatory workshop will prepare you to be a resourceful Garden Master. Whether you choose to be a maintainer, explorer, planter, composter or lead, you'll find where you fit in the TMA Garden experience.
View workshop timeline

Garden Day With Whole Foods Market, Tustin
Thursday, Oct. 4 at 10:30 a.m.
TMA parents are invited to join us in the TMA Garden for a simple and delicious smoothie-making demonstration, sponsored by Whole Foods Market, Tustin.

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Mandatory Garden Master Training Workshop, Oct. 4


Thank you for signing up to be a class Garden Master (GM). We have a fantastic year planned, beginning with our first Garden Master Training Workshop, Thursday, Oct. 4 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. In order for your class to participate in garden programs, all GMs are required to attend this workshop. Sorry, no exceptions.

This year you need to select your garden role before attending the Oct. 4 training workshop. Once you select your GM role, please email the following information to

-Garden role
-Teacher's name
-Email address
-Cell phone number

Subscribe to the TMA garden blog to receive specific details about the time you need to attend the Oct. 4 workshop. To sign up, enter your email address in the designated area under Subscribe Now located on the top left column of the blog home page.

Below is a list of garden roles to choose from.

Kinder, First, Third and Fifth Grade Garden Master Job Descriptions

Two Planter GMs
Train children how to plant, tend and harvest fall and spring crops.

One Maintainer GM
Train children how to maintain certain parts of the garden throughout the school year. You'll also keep track of the garden rotation schedule.

One Explorer GM
Train children how to be garden tour guides (AKA Garden Ambassadors).

Lead GM (Either a Maintainer or Explorer)
Oversee all class GMs. Act as primary link between teacher, parents, students and the garden team. Coordinate food demonstration lessons during garden time.

Second Grade GM Job Descriptions

Two Planter GMs
Train children how to plant, tend and harvest fall and spring crops.

Two Worm Composter GMs
Train children how to worm compost using food scraps from lunch

One Maintainer/Lead GM
As a maintainer, you'll train children how to maintain certain parts of the garden throughout the school year. You'll also keep track of the garden rotation schedule. As lead you'll:
-Oversee all class GMs
-Act as primary link between teacher, parents, students and the garden team
-Coordinate food demonstration lessons during garden time.

Fourth Grade Garden Master Job Descriptions

Two Planter GMs
Train children how to plant, tend and harvest fall and spring crops.

Two Composter GMs
Train children how to hot compost using green and brown plant life.

One Maintainer/Lead GM
As a maintainer, you'll train children how to maintain certain parts of the garden throughout the school year. You'll also keep track of the garden rotation schedule. As lead you'll:
-Oversee all class GMs
-Act as primary link between teacher, parents, students and the garden team
-Coordinate food demonstration lessons during garden time.

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Back-to-School Night Highlights


The Can U Dig It? Team wants to thank Whole Foods Market, Tustin and Duncan and Michelle Millar of Michelle’s Naturally for participating at BTSN.

Gerrie Adams, the healthy eating specialist at Whole Foods Market, Tustin, showcased our garden’s tomatoes and peppers in a delicious watermelon/tomato gazpacho. Please check out the recipe from last week’s post. You won’t be disappointed with this refreshing soup.

Per a grant we won through Whole Kids Foundation to introduce nutrition-based training, Whole Foods Market, Tustin will be giving more demostrations in our garden this school year. Be on the look out for upcoming dates.

The Millars generously donated a variety of cookies that were distributed as free samples at BTSN. Many families learned how scrumptious cookies can be when made with wholesome ingredients. The Millars also donate cookies to our weekly garden sale, so stop by and give them a try. They're a huge hit with the kids.

Also at BTSN, our produce sales team displayed a beautiful array of produce and items made with ingredients from the garden. We featured a colorful medley of tomatoes, red hot chili peppers and cool frozen grapes to name just a few. All sales benefit PTO programs, which in turn, benefit our children’s overall TMA experience.

If you'd like to join the fun, dedicated team that sells our garden’s bounty, why not lend a hand on Thursdays after school? For details, please contact Jennifer Whyte at (714) 486-2647.

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