Pricking out asparagus

Asparagus is one of the most popular vegetables. The preparation of the spears is simple and takes little time. The pricking of the asparagus, however, is far more elaborate and only comes off quickly with some practice.

  • Pricking asparagus is strenuous, but not witchcraft
  • correct technique is crucial
  • special tools make the work easier
  • Caution is required to avoid damaging regrowing stalks

Prick asparagus

The term “prick” refers only to white asparagus, because in this vegetable asparagus the stalk is cut below the ground. Green and purple asparagus, on the contrary, grows above ground and can therefore simply be cut at the surface of the soil.

Grüner Spargel

Growth of the asparagus plant

The popular spears of white asparagus are actually the shoots of the asparagus plant, which are pricked at the surface of the earth before sprouting. They grow upwards from the so-called root crown through the asparagus stem to sprout on the surface.

However, from the crown grows not only one shoot, but several. However, not all shoots come to the surface at the same time. Therefore, close to an asparagus spear ready for harvesting, there may be a regrowing one hidden in the ridge. Towards the end of the harvest season, the shoots are then allowed to follow their natural growth so that the plant does not die.

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There are special tools for asparagus pruning:

  • long, curved asparagus knife (asparagus pricker, pricking knife) with ergonomic handle
  • Asparagus trowel
  • pricking gloves (high tactile and fingertip feeling)
  • special harvesting basket with cover

However, you can also easily replace these utensils with

  • a chisel (gouge)
  • a trowel
  • tight-fitting gardening gloves
  • a basket with damp towels and/or a cover

Pricking asparagus – instructions

recognize asparagus shoots ready for harvesting

Spargel stechen - Reife Stange erkennen

Whether you are standing in front of a plant with harvestable stems, you can tell by the following characteristics:

cracks can be seen on the surface of the perineum
small part of the asparagus head protrudes from the soil (very rare, because it is not desirable)


Since the asparagus hole must be resealed after harvesting, you should dig up the asparagus so that the soil remains on the dam surface. Digging is done as follows:

spread two fingers around the spear
use them to dig away soil around the asparagus spear to a good depth (expose asparagus).
Tip: When digging, be careful not to damage neighboring stalks.

Spargel stechen

prick the asparagus

To cut the asparagus, insert the asparagus knife

about thirty centimeters deep and
parallel to the spear
and cut the asparagus spear with one or two movements.

Note: However, you should not guide the asparagus knife down too deep to avoid damaging the root crown.

remove and store

Once you have stabbed the spear, tilt the asparagus knife slightly backward. This will push the asparagus up and make it easier to get out of the hole. So that the vegetable asparagus does not dry out, it goes immediately into the basket.

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Frisch gestochener Spargel im Korb

close the hole

Once the harvested asparagus spear is taken care of, you should quickly close the hole so that the neighboring spears can continue to grow well. Use the flat side of the asparagus trowel to smooth the surface so that regrowing asparagus can be easily seen.

Frequently asked questions

When is the right time to prick asparagus?

Basically, you can harvest the white spears throughout the day. However, the ideal time to prick asparagus is in the morning or evening.

When is the harvest time of asparagus?

It is difficult to determine the exact time to start harvesting asparagus, as it depends on the weather and soil temperature. However, asparagus harvesting usually takes place in May and June.

How long does it take to harvest a kilogram of asparagus?

For novices, the practice time is given as 30 minutes. If you already have some practice, you should have stung a kilo of the white spears in about 25 minutes during the peak season.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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