Monty Don shares egg box tip for growing potatoes

The gardening guru reveals how placing seed potatoes in old egg cartons will help them to grow quickly once planted in the ground

senior man holding homegrown potatoes dug up from the ground with a fork
(Image credit: Getty images / Casarsa Guru)

Monty Don has shared an egg box potato-growing tip to help you grow your own delicious spuds. The gardening expert and Gardeners' World host says that storing 'chitting' potatoes in this way will help them thrive in the soil.

Learn how to grow potatoes at home, and your Sunday roast will taste all the better. Here's how old egg boxes can be used as a handy tool when growing your own veg.

process of chitting potatoes in egg boxes

(Image credit: Alamy)

Monty Don's egg box potato-growing tip

Writing on his blog, which is full of advice and gardening jobs to do every month, Monty explains that potatoes grow from sprouts emerging in the spring from tubers (potatoes that grow from the mother tuber of the potato plant). He comments that we've all seen the transparent sprouts that appear on potatoes stored in a kitchen cabinet.

But seed potatoes need to be exposed to light in order to grow new sprouts. These will be knobbly and dark green.

'Place the seed potatoes in a seed tray or egg box and put somewhere bright, cool but frost-free,' says Monty Don. Try placing them on a kitchen windowsill or in a greenhouse and keep an eye on the temperature if you live in an area that's still experiencing subzero temperatures.

Monty Don wearing a suit and tie while presenting

Gardeners' World host Monty Don

(Image credit: Alamy)

Egg boxes provide a snug spot for potatoes to sprout, with a good amount of airflow. Plus, they're easy to transport once they're ready to be planted into soil in containers or your kitchen garden. 'The knobbly shoots will start to appear after a few weeks and can then be left until the soil is warm enough for planting,' says Monty. 

This process is called 'chitting,' and helps seed potatoes to grow more quickly and successfully. 'This is especially beneficial for first earlies or maincrop varieties grown where blight is likely,' Monty Don adds. 

The RHS website explains that potato blight is a disease that 'attacks the foliage and tubers of potatoes, causing rotting.' It's most common in warm and wet weather.

process of chitting potatoes in egg boxes

(Image credit: Alamy)

Potatoes are great options to try if you're feeling inspired to try growing vegetables in pots too. No 'proper' garden needed – you can even grow them old paint pots on a small balcony or windowsill. 

Will you be trying this tip?

Millie Hurst
News Writer

Millie Hurst has worked in digital journalism for five years, having previously worked as a Senior SEO Editor at News UK both in London and New York. She joined the Future team in early 2021, working across several brands, including Gardeningetc. Now, she is Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home, taking care of evergreen articles aimed at inspiring people to make the most of their homes and outdoor spaces.