In Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, why does Curtis plant tomatoes in the lot?  

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Curtis plants tomatoes in the lot in order to impress Lateesha, the girl he wants to marry. Accordingly, Lateesha had stopped seeing Curtis five years ago when she discovered other girls in his life. For his part, Curtis admits that he has now sobered up and is serious about marrying Lateesha.

The only problem is that she won't give him the light of day. So, knowing how much Lateesha enjoys eating tomatoes, Curtis plants six Beefsteak tomato seedlings in the garden lot right across from her third-floor apartment. He weeds, fertilizes, and picks the bugs off the tomato plants diligently. In due time, the tomatoes grow abundantly. Curtis also stops going about shirtless; his goal is to show Lateesha that he is a man of refinement, despite the fact that he has muscles. To Curtis, growing tomatoes is the only way he thinks he can show Lateesha that he's serious about being a good candidate for a husband.

In due time, Curtis puts up a sign in front of the tomatoes that says "Lateesha's Tomatoes." All of his work is rewarded when he catches sight of Lateesha looking down at the sign he has just made.

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