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Terroir and Its Impacts on the Outcome of a Plant


This project aims to uncover the most crucial factors among sunlight, water, and soil quality as the main elements critical to the growth of plants. This research will center on Arugula, a plant with vibrant green leaves, as the central focus in uncovering the basic elements critical to the development of plants. Arugula, scientifically identified as Eruca sativa, belongs to the family of Brassicaceae and is a versatile leafy green (Yang et al., 2021). It is a cool-season annual salad plant from the Mediterranean region known for its strongly flavored, peppery leaves bulked with nutrition. Thriving in well-draining soil with forming a rosette, this hardy cruciferous vegetable requires ample sunlight for its optimal growth.

Inspired by the world of wine, where the concept of “terroir” includes environmental factors shaping the character of the grapevine, we would like to understand how these factors perform themselves in the cultivation of Arugula. Terroir, a rich French viticulture word, encompasses the unique fingerprint of a particular geographical area, mapping the detailed amalgamation of environmental factors controlling the properties of crops, mostly in the case of wine grapes (Yengué & Stengel, 2021). Terroir, consequently, is required, for it beckons that the place makes agricultural produce more than just land but an art. It brings to focus that the land itself assumes expression when applied in raising crops (Yengué & Stengel, 2021). Transposing this notion to plant growth would decipher how soil composition can impact the outcome of Arugula plants – the “terroir” concept – unveiling broader implications for agricultural practices.

Literature Review

In dissecting the various aspects that influence plants’ growth, the selected variable of soil quality emerges as one to determine this. Literature reviews on the intricate relationship between soil composition and successful plant cultivation with emphasis falling on nutrient availability, water retention, and overall soil composition. For instance, a research by Shahane and Shivay (2021) mentions that soil is very important for cultivation of fruits and vegetables, as it provides a reservoir of necessary nutrients, retention of water, and mechanical support. Soil composition, nutrient composition directly regulates growth of plants for factors like improvement of root, uptake of nutrient, well-being of corps on the whole. The quality of cultivation depends on the quality of the soil and, hence, is an integral part of agricultural activities. Literature also underpins weather to be a major factor in plant growth and, more particularly, in Arugula cultivation.

More particularly, San Francisco weather significantly influences Arugula cultivation. With San Francisco having a mild Mediterranean climate, its moderate temperature and in addition being foggy during the morning, the conditions become perfect for cultivation. Recognition of these differences is essential in modifying cultivation practices, giving ideal circumstances to not only Arugula growing but also it being healthy in a perfect manner (Makaronidou, n.d.). Literature reviews highlight that moderation of the independent factor, soil quality, may have an impact on the development of the plant. Positive growth can, therefore, be due to proper nutrient availabilities as well as improved water holding and soil structure. Consequently, it may negatively bring about negative growth from the imbalances or even deficiency in the crucial elements found within the soil.Hypothesis: The type of soil determines the growth outcomes of Arugula, with optimum soil applying conditions ideal for robust plant development on the ground.


Comparative approach was employed in the design whereby it looked into comparing the effect of soil type on Arugula growth. Comparative design basically means grouping two or more groups or even conditions so that one can effectively understand how they actually differ according to their response to some variables. In this way, the researcher is able to draw conclusions on how certain factors are related to an outcome variable, noting differences between compared groups. In the study on Arugula, a comparative approach was applied where two sets of plants were grown; one set in “Jiffy Seed Starting Mix” with optimal nutrients, and the other set “Miracle-Gro Sphagnum Peat Moss” with suboptimal nutrients. The experiment lasted for 13 weeks. Each week, the students recorded the height of the plants, their health and overall summary of how growing the conditions were, such as plant height, healthiness, and overall summary of how growing the conditions were. This wide set of data collection enabled providing analysis level for how soil type impacts Arugula growth. It provided insights upon the kind of manipulation of soil quality which could lead to different change impacts in the development of plants categorized under the studied plant types. The detailed nature of the experiment design made for a robust understanding of the interplay that occurs between soil composition and growth of Arugula..


Certain distinct growth patterns were observed over a span of 13 weeks as between the control and variable groups in the case of Arugula. The control set grown in “Jiffy Seed Starting Mix” showed prominence in uniformity in growth and vigorous development particularly appearing taller and overall having healthier status. On the other hand, variable group treated with “Miracle-Gro Sphagnum Peat Moss” showed inhibited growth and symptoms of nutrient lack.Weather variations in San Francisco also affected the control group as well as that whose soil was subjected to changes since fluctuation of temperatures had a direct impact on the growth rates. The strong resistance of the control group to adversity indicated that the quality of the soil is key. These results clearly indicate how changing the variable, soil type changes the qualities and has direct effects on the outcomes delivered in Arugula growth that are consonant with the hypothesis first posited.


The differences in Arugula growth between the control and variable groups revealed the integral role of soil quality, hence affirming the hypothesis. The control group, growing in the nutrient-rich “Jiffy Seed Starting Mix,” thrived with superior growth, as aligned with the literature stressing optimal nutrient availability. The variable group, on the other hand, growing in the nutrient-depleted ” Miracle-Gro Sphagnum Peat Moss,” demonstrated stunting in growth, paralleling concerns over deficiencies of this type in the soil raised in the literature. The weather oscillations of San Francisco further underscored the effect of environmental factors on plant growth in San Francisco (Mauro et al., 2014). Differences in yield resilience to these variations between the control and treatment group underline importance of nutrient-rich soil in tempering impacts from such adverse weather, reinforcing some of the findings in literature as soils acting mainly as buffer.

Comparing these findings against existent research, it is apparent that a change in the quality of the soil can indeed result in different outcomes of growth. The literature pertaining to the complex interaction between the composition of soil and development of plants is reflected within this experiment. The results of this experiment, therefore, support not only the hypothesis but provide to a broader extent an understanding of the manner by which soil quality can impact the ability of plants to grow in realistic conditions. The precise discussions regarding nutrient availability, water retention, and soil structure that complete the literature are essentially verified by the results seen here. The use of tentative language throughout the study is well used to emphasize this experimental nature, so whilst these results closely match current literature findings, there may be other factors inherent. In essence, this paper analyses the knowledge gap between theory and practical application as to how soil influences Arugula’s growth dynamics in the specific context of San Francisco.


This experiment allows us to conclude that soil quality has a great impact on Arugula growth, and the hypothesis is thus proven correct. The differences between the control and variable groups suggest prevailing literature on the subject of soil’s influence on plant development is correct. These variations further underscore the role played by soil as an environmental buffer against fluctuating weather conditions in San Francisco. The information presented by this study will enlighten a larger perspective to the farmers on the direct practice of controlling plant outcomes by farmers as far as manipulating soil type is concerned.

In a parallel reflection, the implications go beyond Arugula farming. Similar to the subtle “terroir” that shapes wine characteristics, the soil quality emerges as the defining attribute in both scenarios. Similarly, soil quality vividly influences Arugula in terms of growth and qualities, and it defines the characteristic-taste aromaticity and other profiles of the wine-grapes as well (Ma et al., 2022). The balance of nutrients, structure, and environmental adaptability mirroring the delicate balance between soils and grapevines emphasize the universal importance of soil in agricultural pursuits. Additionally, changes in terroir, similar to manipulating the type of soil, can beget subtle changes in flavor of grapes and quality of wine as a result. This parallel brings to mind the commonality of the significance of soils in agricultural production and the attention paid frequently to its effect throughout all types of crops and although irgations of various agricultural environs.


Makaronidou, M. (n.d.). Assessment of the local climate effects of solar photovoltaic parks.

Ma, J., Qin, J., Ma, H., Zhou, Y., Shen, Y., Xie, Y., & Xu, D. (2022). Soil characteristic changes and quality evaluation of degraded desert steppe in arid windy sandy areas. PeerJ10, e13100.

Mauro, S. E.-D. (2014). Ecology, soils, and the left. New York: Palgrave Macmillan US.

Shahane, A. A., & Shivay, Y. S. (2021). Soil health and its improvement through novel agronomic and innovative approaches. Frontiers in Agronomy3, 680456.

Shahrokh, Z. D., & Miri, S. M. (2019). A short introduction to comparative research. Allameh Tabataba’i Unversity.

Yang, T., Samarakoon, U., Altland, J., & Ling, P. (2021). Photosynthesis, biomass production, nutritional quality, and flavor-related phytochemical properties of hydroponic-grown Arugula (Eruca sativa Mill.)‘standard’under different electrical conductivities of nutrient solution. Agronomy11(7), 1340.

Yengué, J. L., & Stengel, K. (2021). The wine terroir: landscape and quality. EdA, Esempi di Architettura.


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