Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Speaking in Superlatives

Frequently I get unsolicited advice that starts out with the first line containing a superlative. Examples:

The most effective way to control aphids
The best tomato to grow
Ten best garden tips
How to grow the ultimate potato
Best container garden 
Ultimate gardening method
Most effective weed controller
Worst foods to grow

I'm not a real fan of superlatives. They've been overused in the news (ex.- "worst storm of the century") to the point that they don't impress me nor catch my eye. And besides, superlatives are relative. What's "worst" for one person or area might be not so impressive for another. 

You won't see me posting...

The best garden tools ever
The worst pests in the garden
The ultimate compost maker
The greatest chicken breed to have

What works for me may not work for you, and visa versa. And just because I might have a current infactuation with a certain style of hoe doesn't have anything to do with some other gardener's preference. And heck, I'll probably change my mind 6 months down the road anyway. 

I love reading about other gardeners' experiences and preferences, but when those superlatives start popping up all the time, I tend to shy away. 

By the way, the other word that tends to make my eyes droop and mind turn off is the word "should", as in.....

You should plant your potatoes this way.
You should be using drip irrigation. 
You shouldn't be tilling the soil. 

The would "should" and I don't get along very well together. Perhaps it's a hangover from my previous life where everyone seemed to be telling me how I should live. I think I reached my "should" quota several years ago. Not only don't I like to be the recipient of "shoulds", I don't like using the word when I talk with others. About the only time I use "should" is when I'm talking to myself or my animals........and sometimes my plants, but they don't listen to me. Hey, come to think about it, neither do most of my animals. Su, you should go do something about that! 


  1. This is why I like reading your blog. You have common sense and you share in a straightforward, non-hype manner. You is real, gal! Thanks for everything!