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I think there's a bit of debate on how many varieties of asparagus really exist, because many of them are very similar but have different names. I think there are really only three types; 'normal', 'purple/purple top' (often used for growing blanched/white asparagus) and 'wild'.

I think Connovers Colossal is a purple type.

Beyond this there is Mary Washington which is 'normal', but has some disease resistance to asparagus rust. I don't even know if rust is in issue in the UK or elsewhere in Europe.

There are also some F1 hybrids that claim higher yields, but I don't know if I would believe those claims or if it would even be desirable to have higher yields.

Most people say wild asparagus tastes the best, but I don't know if it will grow in the UK. I tried to grow this from seeds Gintonio (Jardim com gatos) sent me, but they didn't germinate. I may try again next year. I have seen these seeds for sale at Seeds of Italy too. If you go for this variety, consider it an experiment.

I ended up growing Mary Washington, because I could easily order the seeds. Crowns available locally are expensive, of questionable quality and un-named varieties. I see in the UK a lot of named varieties are available as crowns.

Growing asparagus from seed has turned out to be a lot of extra work. The plants are very fragile, and there is an extra year wait before harvest.

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