Although we are in the middle of winter, it is the perfect time to start thinking about what to grow in our 2012 vegetable gardens.

One of the things that makes planning a vegetable garden so difficult is all the different varieties of vegetables there are to choose from.

Seed companies certainly don't make the decisions any easier by offering new varieties of our favorite vegetables each year.

Here are five awesome vegetable varieties from Burpee Seed Co. that are new for 2012.

Big Daddy Tomato

The Big Daddy tomato is a new hybrid variety that was bred from the famous Big Boy tomato.

It's called the Big Daddy for a reason - it can grow to a whopping 15 ounces!

It is an indeterminate variety and has excellent resistance to Fursarium and verticillium diseases.

The only downside to this tomato is it takes about 78 days to mature, which might be a bit too long for those with short growing seasons.

If you are interested in growing a large, bright red tomato with good disease resistance then try out the Big Daddy in 2012.

Golden Egg Squash

Golden Egg Squash

Squash is a favorite in my vegetable garden, and I love the look of the new Golden Egg squash.

Burpee claims it is one of the best tasting squashes they have ever grown, and if it tastes as good as it looks then I believe it!

The Golden Egg reaches a diameter of about five inches and is ready to harvest in 41 days.

The Golden Egg is a high yield squash that continually produces over an eight week period.

Easy Peasy Peas

Easy Peasy Peas

Hopefully anything named Easy Peasy has to be a winner in the vegetable garden. Burpee gave these delicious peas this name because they are so easy to grow.

In fact, they are so easy to grow you don't even need a trellis or support - they are self-supporting.

Plants produce 10 - 11 peas per pod with two pods per node, giving you plenty of peas from just a few plants.

Easy Peasy peas are ready for harvest in about 60 days. With a name like that you just can't go wrong!

Gold Standard Cucumber

Gold Standard Cucumber

I will be the first to admit I love cucumbers. They are easy to grow and taste oh so good on a hot summer day.

Burpee is introducing a new variety of cucumber called the Golden Standard. It has a golden-colored flesh with the typical green skin.

It has fives times the beta carotene of other cucumbers and matures in about 49 days.

This would definitely be an interesting addition to your vegetable garden for 2012.

Chant Okra

Chant Okra

Now we are getting to my all-time favorite vegetable - okra. If I couldn't have okra in my vegetable garden I'd probably not garden at all.

So of course when I see Burpee offering a new variety of okra I have to pounce on it!

Chant okra is a new hybrid variety for 2012 and features extra-large five to six inch pods.

Chant is ready to harvest in about 55 days with tender pods that won't get tough like many other okra varieties.

If you've never grown okra then give Chant a try for the new year.

Purple Wonder Strawberries

Purple Wonder Strawberry

Okay, I know I said five new varieties and this makes six (plus strawberries aren't vegetables either), but I couldn't pass up the oppotunity to mention the first-ever purple strawberries - Purple Wonder.

January and February means it's time to plabnt strawberries in many areas, and why not start out by planting some of these?

Purple Wonder is a Junebearing strawberry variety that features purple fruit and bright green leaves. I bet they look as good as they'd taste!

Plant these in with red strawberries for a beautiful, interesting crop of delicious strawberries.

I hope you are getting excited about the upcoming 2012 growing season and perhaps you can even add a couple of these new varieties to your vegetable garden.

I know I have my eye on growing a couple of these new varieties!