GROWING dinner down the road will become a realistic prospect for more New Addington residents now that land for allotments is being reclaimed.
Fifty extra half-plots should be available at the Mickleham Way allotments by the beginning of October, adding to the 20 patches currently on the site, all of which are taken.
The land was split from the allotments in the late 1980s, but will now be used partly for plots and partly for a forthcoming fresh food project, the Good Food Matters centre.
Janet Rossi, secretary of the Mickleham Way Allotments and Gardens Society, said she was "extremely excited" over the development, which followed three years of talks between growers and the council.
She added: "It is very satisfying when you grow your own fresh vegetables and you take them home all proud and you cook it and eat it. I have to say it tastes completely different – there is absolutely no comparison to shop-bought.
"You have to remember with things like broccoli they [supermarkets] cut it early so it loses its flavour a bit."
She said the council wanted the extra land to be let as half plots to lessen the risk of its being wasted by overwhelmed gardeners.
"It has taken me a while to really realise the level of dedication needed to do it," she said.
"But it is good fun and good exercise and there are huge savings to be made if you can grow your own."
The Good Food Matters Community Learning Centre, which has paid for fencing to separate it from the allotments, is due to open on the southern edge of the site in October.
The volunteer centre, founded by Evelyn Findlater, will be used to teach estate residents about growing and cooking fresh food.
The allotments' group held open days across the bank holiday weekend for growers to see the land's potential.
Ms Rossi added that the group is keen to help any growers regardless of whether they have plots on site.
She said: "We want to involve the community, whether they want to grow a window basket, herbs or anything.
"We want to encourage people to grow what they want, where they want."
A spokesman for Croydon Council said the plots "will meet the increasing demand we are currently seeing for allotment gardening."
For details on how to apply for a plot, phone the council on 020 8726 6900 or e-mail parks@ croydon.gov.uk