Veg & Fruit Cycle: Peppers
The vegetative growth & fruiting cycles of peppers is not purely a fertilizer relationship. ( Post "Nitrogen Concentration for Pepper Plants, 15 June, 09 spins off these comments.)
Pruning plays a tactical role in intensive (less practical in open field acreage) commercial pepper operations' yield.
Young transplants are ideally pruned progressively, so that allow enough leaves to coordinate with few stems, in order to get a continuous yield once fruiting has initiated.
If neglect ongoing pruning the result is spurts of vegetative growth & then the fruit bears in flushes. A rhythm of sequential pepper flushes makes it difficult to tweak (selectively prune) the plant stems & leaves back into a highly productive synchronization.
After a fruiting flush the lapse into vegetative cycle means that ultimately the total yield will be reduced.
Pruning is also relevant to getting some peppers to bulk up & mature; in this instance it is the fruit itself that is pruned. When it is too hot, reducing the fruit load allows the leaves enough margin to deal with their environmental stress.
But, in all instances (normal conditions or high heat) always keep some peppers on the plant, until the next flowers come open. Otherwise the plant will drift back into vegetative mode & continuous cropping is lost once again.
"Bloom" inducement proponents often emphasize Phosphorus fertilization boosts. Yet, if commercial pepper data is correct P use is kept constant (say 50 ppm).
There is a case to be made for reducing Nitrogen to shift the plant out of vegetative mode. In commercial production the goal is to maximize the productive life span of the plant & cutting N a tactic with consequences.
Home (USA) growers are often annoyed that choice peppers from Mexico & New Mexico flood the supermarkets. While these are hot climates their desert like weather includes night time temperature drops.
Temperature factors for peppers can be simplified as follows (the small hot tropical varieties are obviously adapted to heat differently).
The 24 hour average air temperature has the most impact on pepper fruit & it's ability to promptly ripen. If this average is too high it tends to keep vegetative processes going. ( For reference purposes: when Bell pepper plants are developing vegetatively this 24 hour "ideal" is 21*C or 70*F - 23*C or 74*F.)
In addition, the influence of lower night temperatures & warm days is to trigger flowering & induce fruit set. (For reference purposes: when night time air is 16*C or 61*F it is good for Bell peppers.)
(Peppers, like Bells, that yield poorly in day time temperatures over 32*C or 90*F are suffering from physical distortions induced in the flower structure & few fruit overcome that developmental problem.)