Expert Consultant – Companion Gardening vs. Crossbreeding Tomatoes


Dear Toronto Master Gardeners,
I’m currently taking AP Capstone: Research at Nixa High School with Mrs. Amanda Stoll, and I’m especially interested in your expertise.

I would like to learn more about your work, particularly your article “Companion Planting: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide”. My experience working with tomatoes and companion planting taught me how crucial your research is, so I am especially intrigued by the connections between companion gardening with tomatoes and their outcome. Is this something that I could explore with you? Are you currently accepting consultations with high school students?

If you have the time, I would love to discuss this with you by email or by phone (you can reach me at I am also happy to tell you more about myself and my background. I humbly request your service and expertise to serve as an “Expert Consultant” or on my AP Research project and Presentation committee.

Attached below is a screenshot of the advisor requirements for your reference, and I can email you my annotated bibliography and questions if you are interested.
Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon.
Respectfully, Christena Berry
Nixa High School
AP Capstone: Research-Student


We are always excited to hear of  interesting projects in plant science that are being undertaken by students. Unfortunately we do not serve as expert consultants for AP research projects.

As you are probably aware, science is always evolving and as a result all of our Gardening Guides are undergoing extensive updating to reflect the changing information.

There is a lot of controversy with regards to companion planting and the science behind whether it really works. Linda Chalker-Scott, an Associate professor at Washington State University, in her article The Myth of Companion Planting explores the science behind the different plant associations involved with companion planting.

Robert Pavlis a garden writer and Master Gardener with a degree in chemistry and biochemistry writes garden articles from a scientific perspective.  His article titled Companion  Planting: Truth or Myth? gives an overview of companion planting.

The University of Massachusetts Amerherst has this to say about companion planting “ The number of rigorous scientific studies regarding companion planting is small compared to the number of books, lists, and charts about companion planting based on anecdotal evidence. Be mindful that choosing a companion planting scheme not grounded in science may result in disappointment. However, personal observations of effective plant groupings are useful as a starting point. Being able to replicate those observations over time and locations will confirm companion planting as a valuable gardening practice.”

Another article that may be of interest to you is from University of Minnesota Extension titled Companion planting and trap cropping vegetables . This article looks at how certain “plant associations” can help manage pests by encouraging beneficial insects, improve soil fertility and structure and enhance pollination. Savvy Gardening also has an article on Science-backed Companion Plants for Tomatoes that you might find useful.

Lastly, the Toronto Botanical Garden Library is a terrific resource. It is currently closed to the public due to Covid restrictions, however keep on checking back and hopefully it will reopen soon.

Good Luck with your project.