Mother Nature requires that you give up your love of perfection, or at least the way you understand it. That’s just not how she operates.
When it was time to head outside for the evening, it was with dread that I approached the tomato bed. Earlier this morning, Mitch had discovered blossom end rot on several of the budding baby fruits.
I knew what blossom end rot was before witnessing it firsthand because I’m a member of several gardening-focused Facebook communities. One group, dedicated to beginners, frequently discusses the subject as yet another member searches for answers and remedies. It was the one garden problem I was hoping we’d never have to face. Japanese beetles? No big deal. Pumpkins taking over? We’re cool — just cut open the fence temporarily and release them into the yard. Bugs creating holes in the leaves? Nothing a little homemade spray can’t fix. Hops outgrowing their trellis faster than you can make it taller? Haven’t quite figured that one out yet — but we’ve got this.
Blossom end rot was always different because it is an imperfection. From the moment the beautiful, little tomatoes first started appearing, I was in love with their bright greenish skin and oblong circular appearance. In my eyes, they were perfect globes of soon-to-be deliciousness. Perfect: what a dangerous aspiration.
We spent about a half hour inspecting and then pinching off the affected fruits. By the time we were done, we’d collected fifty or sixty of them off the 26 plants we have in the bed (separate post about what we’ll do with all those tomatoes coming soon!). As I worked, I felt the weight of my expectations drifting away. For every one we removed, two or three got to stay. I’m not sure how many of the rest of them will develop the same problem, but we gave them fertilizer and a good soaking and are hoping for the best.
None of us are perfect and I’m starting to realize that none of us should be. There’s beauty in our flaws and in the setbacks we experience. These are the things, when we don’t allow them to consume us, that make us grow. They are the things that challenge us to learn and with the right attitude, inspire us to reach heights we may not otherwise have attempted. It’s time for me to embrace the imperfection.