The garden of the XXI century: Senan

The garden of the XXI century: Senan

The garden of the XXI century project seeks to create a planetary network of gardens, which implies that the research must be developed in multiple climates and soils. Through the design of a system of rotational grazing, pasture cropping and water harvesting, the project explores the potential to create novel dynamic landscapes rooted in the climate, geology and culture of a particular place while improving soil health and sequestering carbon.

The Garden of the XXI century in Senan is one of the first chapters grounded on this methodology. Located in the municipality of Senan in Spain, its particular climatic and soil conditions convert the site into a key case-study for the research.

A large extent of the agricultural land in Senan reflects a worldwide issue where soil has been extracted from everything that makes it a living entity, considering it just as a means that must perform to the massive production. The project we are developing attempts to improve the health of the soil through the adaptative management of a series of field sites around the municipality.

Senan aerial view 1946 and 2020. Source: Institut Cartogràfic i Geològic de Catalunya.

Following the methodology of Pastoreo Racional Voisin, horses will spend a day intensively grazing small plots of land at defined intervals, which stimulates a response in the vegetation. The poop of the horses returns nutrients to the soil, and over time, the delicate management of the plots will transform the character and composition of the soil and vegetation. Over the ten-year duration of the project the management practices will evolve to respond to site-specific successional dynamics, the needs of the horses and the observed responses in the soil.