10 Vegetable Varieties To Try In 2012

I’ve been enjoying an annual tradition of mine this past month: reading my favorite seed catalogs and dreaming of the coming garden. I especially like seeing what new varieties there are and finding varieties may have been around, but are new to me. Every year I try to grow some things I haven’t grown before. Last year I grew three new vegetables:

  • Romanesco Cauliflower (sometimes classified as broccoli, but trust me, it’s all cauliflower) which is pictured above. This was fun to grow and eat, so I’ll grow it again for sure. 
  • Celery– the seed was really hard to germinate, so I only had one plant, but I found that I could take some outer stalks all summer when I needed a bit of celery flavor and it continued to grow into a nice full head that I harvested in the fall. I’d really like to have about six plants this year.
  • Dinosaur/Lacinato Kale– I’ve only grown the frilly kales in the past and I did like the dark green leaves and lettuce-like shape, but in my garden it was WAY more susceptible to cabbage moths than the other kales I’ve grown. I’d like to grow both this and some of the other kale this year. 
  • UPDATE: How could I forget the tomatoes I tried last year for the first time? Pineapple Heirloom and Black Cherry – we loved these and I’ll definitely grow them again!

So far I’ve found ten new (or new-to-me) varieties that I’d like to try (though notice last year there were only three…maybe my dreams are a bit bigger in January than in April?):

Note: I’m providing links to these for your convenience in case you’re interested in them as well, but I am not affiliated with any of the seed providers. The images are all from the linked sites, as well.

1. Lipstick Pepper – this was recommended (by a reader, I think?) because it’s early and ripens well in the north. It’s a sweet pepper that’s characterized as “super sweet.” Hmmm…I’m always looking for a pepper that ripens all the way in our season (remember: green peppers are just unripe peppers!).

2. Alma Paprika Pepper – it’s a different shape than I’m used to, but I think it would be fun to grow and dry my own paprika and they say that this one “is the perfect pepper to dry to produce the popular spice but is also eaten fresh, and yields are very abundant so you can use it both ways.” And it starts out cream, which would make for a pretty plant.

3. Amarillo (Yellow) Carrot – I just think it’s fun to grow different colored carrots! This one is supposed to be really sweet and tasty (I have found that we don’t care for white carrots, so I stick to red, orange, and yellow varieties).

4. Diamond Pepper– Another small pepper that ripens early with good yields (see a trend here?). Again, I think it’s fun to have different colors and this is a creamy color that has a “mild flavor” – whatever that means.

5. White Russian Kale – I think this would be a beautiful plant in the garden- even in pots close to the house for easy harvest in the winter! And this was interesting from the catalog: ” From a flavor standpoint, there’s no question that the Siberian/Russian kales are unequaled.” Maybe I shouldn’t bother with the dino kale?

6. Green Mist Cauliflower – I know, another green cauliflower…but isn’t it pretty?

7. Black Krim tomato –  I’ve tried lots of tomatoes over the years and like to keep exploring all the options out there. This description sold me on this one: “Krims are strikingly iridescent purple on the outside, usually with dark green-black shoulders and noticeable catfacing. Interiors are part black, too, with an unusual juicy yet meaty taste and texture.” Interestingly, they should be harvested when half green and still firm. I can’t wait for tomato season!

8. Tigerella tomato – this one’s right up my alley as it has high yields AND produces in cool summers!

9. Chianti Rose tomato – I just can’t help trying lots of new tomatoes each year…what is it about tomatoes and gardeners? This tomato is supposed to be earlier than other large fruited heirlooms- and remember how hard I try to get those first tomatoes?

10. Indigo Rose tomato – dare I? A black-purple tomato? Actually, the purple coloring occurs on the portion of the fruit that is exposed to light, while the shaded portion starts out green and turns deep red when mature. This is all over the place and “the” new tomato this year, so I think I have to try it, don’t you?

What varieties would you like to grow this year?






  1. Primrose says

    Can we come for dinner, sometime around August or September, please? 😉

    I’m definitely going to plant tomatoes on my balcony this year and see how they do. I’ve missed growing our own for the past 2 summers since we moved out of a house with a (small, but better than none) garden and into an apartment. Our new apartment has quite a big balcony so it’s time to plant again!

    • Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

      If you’re here- most definitely yes! :-) And I’ve read about some great varieties that do well in pots- you’ll probably have the best balcony around. :-)

    • Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

      Goodness, Dixie- you were the lead interview, too. Wow- famous. :-) Can’t you find some little spot for tomatoes? Now you’ve made me sad that you’re not gardening after being the lead in a gardening story. :-)

  2. says

    Hi Jami –

    So that cauliflower you recommend – do you need row covers for it? It is so beautiful (by the way – do you buy seed for it and start indoors first?) I may try that.

    I’m trying a new variety of paste tomato called Cuore di Bue

    and another new cucumber that look like little mini watermelon called Mexican sour gherkin.

    We’ll see how it goes. Oh and I’m back to blogging by the way – I couldn’t stay away :)

    • Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

      Yeah, Shannan! I’m a subscriber, so when you started back up, I got back to reading. :-)

      As for the Romanesco, I don’t know if it NEEDS a cover, but I grow all my brassicas under cover (at least until mid-late summer), so it was under cover. I did start it from seed last year, though I think I might’ve seen it in the nurseries last spring, too. They have a lot more varieties than they used to.

      I’m always looking for a better paste tomato- I’ll be interested to hear how this one does for you!

  3. says

    Aggh, everything looks so beautiful, and I had resolved to do a smaller garden this year.

    I tried a variety of multicolored carrots last year. They weren’t as large as the orange ones though I did put them in a little later.

  4. says

    Black Krim is one of my long-time favorite tomatoes! If you need some seed for it, I’m sure I have some. Go to my blog (linked in my name, I think?) and click on the “Seed Inventory” tab at the top. I love saving & sharing seeds so feel free to go “shopping” (for free).

    I grew Alma Paprika last year. Yuk. Hated it. The bugs loved it, though. They did produce like crazy.

    I’m growing kale for the first time this year. I’ve got Dinosaur, White Russian, and a mix from I can’t remember — maybe Bountiful Gardens?

    Amarillo, I grew last year. Loved it.

    I haven’t grown Indigo Rose but I did grow OSU Blue last year. It was, by far, one of our favorites and top producers. For a lot of blue tomato varieties, check out Tom Wagner’s breeding at newworldcrops.com. (I make no $$ from him, I just love his selection.)

    • Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

      Thank you, Diane, I might take you up on that! I know- I don’t know why I haven’t grown it before!

      Did you not like the flavor of the Alma Paprika? Did you try drying any?

      I think you’ll love having kale- make sure to start some a little later to mature in the fall, they are so good after frost and produce for me through the winter- in fact, we just had some in our dinner tonight!

      Thanks for the tip about Tom Wagner- I hadn’t heard of him, I’ll go check it out!

    • says

      The Alma Paprikas were small & fiddly — one of my pet peeves. The flavor wasn’t great, either, but I didn’t try them dried. I was being lazy!

    • Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

      Uh, oh…I may rethink my pick then- I can’t stand the small, fiddly ones either. I grew cherry peppers last year (shoot, another one I forgot to mention in the post!) and while there were a TON of them, they were thin-walled and the ENTIRE inside were seeds. And they weren’t easy to remove, either. I left most on the plant. How anyone pickles these whole is beyond me- who wants a mouthful of seeds?

      Do you know of a good paprika to grow?

  5. Diana says

    I just planted some micro greens, Chinese stir fry greens, and lettuce in my new salad table my husband made me for Christmas. Usually we plant cool season veggies in February and hope we don’t have prolonged subfreezing temps (which can happen — our last frost date is actually April 15 — but often our last frost is actually in early March. Yesterday we had 72 degrees!

    My exciting new try this summer will be Climbing Tombocino Italian Summer Squash from Renee’s Garden. I think it may do well in our extreme heat summer.

    • Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

      Good for you, Diana. I could be planting something, but I’m usually up to my ears in clean-up and soil prep if the weather’s nice and I want to be outside. Your salad table sounds really interesting- and that summer squash sounds amazing!

  6. says

    Every time I buy celery I think “I should grow this” but I always had heard that it is too tricky. I have also heard that it is one of the “dirtiest” foods in terms of conventional growth practices. So I think we are going to give it a try. Worst that can happen: we’re out a few bucks in seeds.
    Thanks for a great post!

    • Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

      Yes, Deb, me too! I thought it would be so tricky to grow, but other than getting it to germinate, it was no problem in my raised bed with a soaker hose to water.

  7. Beth says

    I noticed the OSU / Bention County Extention is having a talk on Willamette Valley and love/hate relationship with growing tomatoes!

  8. says

    First off, thanks for such a great blog – you have inspired me often! Black Krim is definitely a winner! The flavour is fantastic and even in the wet cool summer we had last year, it produced like crazy. I should mention that I live in Central/Northern Alberta Canada so our summers are generally very short. I hope you give it a try!

  9. says

    My daughter loves anything that is colored, like tomatoes that are not red, it also inspires her to eat them 😉

    We tried the mexican gerkins 2 years ago and LOVED them! I want to grow them again this year as I missed them last year. They do need a trellis though or something. My brother grew them and just let them run along the ground.

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