By Mario C. Esteban, EdD, EPS II, CID-SDO Nueva Ecija

Gardening is a life long learning among the Filipino learners particularly in Alternative Learning System. Gardening involves insight and foresight in selecting the exact area, seeds and type of soil for effective gardening. It involves mathematics to calculate the size, perimeter of the area as old curriculum to known the parameters based on the four corners of learning walls.
The locations must precise the geometrical dimension and diameter of the land surface to determine the exact number of seedlings to be planted in the precise width and length location. Gardening location in Alternative Learning System is essential to determine soil amendments particularly the type of land, garden soil, and rock particles in the land surface. In geometry the soil plays a vital role in civilization and curriculum for progress and human formation.
One of the ALS distinct old curricula is the validation of prior learning likewise in formal education this is commonly known as learning by doing. Gardening involves proper analysis characteristics of the soil before planting or gardening. Evaluating the prior experience of learners is the best way to determine the (ILA) Individual Learning Agreement to re-enforce focus in the ALS curriculum.
I remember from my grandfather he always classifies the soil before planting and to find proper and suited vegetables to be planted in the specific locations. Sandy soils are light and gritty to the touch have large particles. Easy to dry often low in nutrients and acidic. Both water and fertilizer have a tendency to leach out of the soil – escaping to waterways before the plant can utilize however Sandy Soils characteristics is warms up quickly in the spring nutrients and water often leech away especially with rainfall and often acidic. My grandfather manages sandy kind of soil by applying less water and rarer fertilizers to produce the best results in gardening. He usually amends with organic materials like fauna manure that will improve the soil’s ability to hold basic nutrients. To improve organic stuff by incorporating compost, carbon-rich fonts of fertilizers, and materials rich in soil bacteria.
The clay soils are the heaviest soil types and are often considered the hardest to work with. Usually, it holds amount of water and habitually take longer to warm in the month of May after Holy week.

The compaction and outrageous is also a big risk of clay texture of clay soils. Eventually it looks ugly in texture however it keeps some plant roots from breaking through hard layers of clay. Contrast to Sandy soils the clay is rich with organic enzymes that plants need. With clay soils, nutrients are stored for much longer take a tendency not to leech away productiveness in the soil. This clay soils hold more nutrients so that the plant has the food to survive from plants requirements for growing things that need a portion of water. Managing clay can be one of the toughest types to manage however with the right supervision techniques of my grandfather usually improves the overall quality of the soil in our garden. He adds animal manure, decomposed grass to reduce soil compaction. He utilized products that are abundant in soil minerals help him in building roots of papaya, legumes and alike that can easily penetrate hard-hitting clay deposits. ALS learners garden straight plots improve the soils with compost from kitchen waste and products from the chicken manure to improve organic matter. Surely this avoids compaction by not encouraging the cultivating of soil during rainy days. Lastly, consider using a cover crop during the cool season from commercial establishment or man-made cover.

My grandfather identifies silty soil as more fertile than sandy soils. For him silty soil is the intermediary between sandy and clay soils. Silty soils have a superior propensity than other types of soil form a land surface commonly the texture is floury to the touch, but when wet, you can easily form balls in learners’ hand. Fertile soils that hold nutrients better than sandy soils. Managing Silty soil reduce ALS gardener risk of compaction by utilizing compost and soil enzyme -rich products like soil amendments.

The last type of soil in old or traditional farming is Loamy soil which is considered the most fertile among the types of soil. Loamy soils are a combination of sandy, clay and silt type with varied particles. Both the clay and silt particles improve humidity retention while the sand diminishes compaction towards improving drainage. The Loamy soils basically dried out in the month of April or drought and not get water-logged easily. Loamy soils is El Nino or drought resistant due to water-holding capacity and faster to warm up in the month of June or July compared to clay. It holds nutrients, making soils fertile that good infiltration of air and water. Managing gardeners’ Loamy soils are ideal whether you are growing crops like tomato and eggplants flowers or grasses. Basically, all soils need to be managed in order to maintain or improve soil health. Gathering products abundant in soil microbes is significant in promoting vigorous soil in the garden greenhouse.

In gardening we need to classify soils and a make solution to their weakness to become strength, like wise in alternative learning system we need to gauge the capacity and characteristics of our learners compare to soil to become productive and special individual. Gardening and studying are homeostasis.

Most of the elderly for instance required the ALS learners to chose the fertile soil before planting, sandy needs humous, humus may gather from the decompose leaves, trunk and fauna decomposed bodies. There is always advantage and disadvantage in various type of soil. Likewise, we have a lot of adult learners. The connection between various kind of soil is parallel to the type of learners in ALS learners that we need to known their prior learning, condition and characteristics associated with sandy, clay, silt or loam type of soil.
The old curriculum is to identify their prior learning and the new curriculum is applying the learning by doing and the hybrid curriculum is combining the experiential learning to come with the best result. Mixing various type of soil is better to produces plenty of harvest, greener environment and sustainable gardening that promotes hemostasis in the life of Alternative Learning System learners.