Strategy for peppers

How is this for a strategy:
I will feed heavy nitrogen until the plants are about 20 inches tall. During this time I snip emerging buds. After the plant has grown to height, I reduce the nitrogen and allow it to set fruit.
I am trying to avoid the mistakes I made last year. Namely my plants were far too small when the summer heat hit (zone 8b). The buds tended to drop off on their own. And when the heat went away, the nights were too cool for them and the fruit never really reached its best. I got some nice, but small fruit and not much of that.
I want to get as much growth on these and have set fruit before July. June here is usually pretty reasonable for peppers. My peppers are about 9 inches tall at the moment.
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Too much "N" will burn the roots.
Little or no difference in yield was seen in a study that compared the effects of slow-release fertilizer (manure) applied before planting to fish emulsion applied several times throughout the season. ------- Don't fertilize blindly--if your plants look healthy enough, let them be, lest they ignore fruiting for vegetative growth. Bell peppers typically produce 7 to 10 peppers a plant, hot peppers more. When to harvest is an interesting question. On the one hand, leaving peppers on the vine till they're completely ripe somewhat reduces the total productivity of the plant; on the other hand, immature peppers are notably less sweet. To us, the choice is clear: let them ripen on the vine. We're not commercial growers: if we want more peppers than our plants produce with the fruits left to fully ripen, we'll grow more plants next season. Peppers are usually picked when they've stopped increasing in size, are firm to the touch, /and have reached their expected color/. Don't pull peppers, because the plant's branches are rather brittle and you can break them that way: harvest by cutting the peppers off. --------- feed after flowering (?) Don't look right, but that's what I have in my notes.
--
- Billy
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Paul M. Cook wrote:

How long is your growing season from last frost to first frost?
David
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

I was thinking the same thing as David was. The "heavy nitrogen until" strategy may be fine - or . . .
No less a fine gardener than Jim Crockett even said that peppers are a conundrum. Follow the rules, and one season they are glorious. Follow the rules next year, and they'll be a disappointment. That has been my experience, too. Though, as always, "your mileage may vary". FWIW, the smaller (mostly "hotter") peppers seem to be much easier to grow, IME.
Tony
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I am doing Bell (yellow and red), Anaheim and Hatch. I may do some habaneros just for fun and giveaways. I ammended the soil with a lot of epsom salt. These are in big 22 inch pots with 2.5 cubic feet of soil per pot. I added about a scant cup of epsom salt per pot and mixed it in. I'm going to try fish emulsion.
Oh I am using Scott's general purpose fertilizer. It is a 24-8-16 I believe.
Anything else I should do?
Paul
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Frost? What's that?
I live in SoCal area, kind of high desert(ish). We have no frost. I would say that the growing season for peppers (greater than 55F nights) is probably about tax day through mid-October. Summer heat is a problem for plants like tomatoes and peppers as 3 digit days are common from July through August and sometimes into September. Typical summer day is 95-98F.
This year I will install an awning.
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Paul M. Cook wrote:

I don't know when you pay your taxes but I gather you are saying it is a long season. The variations in climate continue to amaze me, I am in a region that as near as I can tell would be classed as zone 9b (which says your mid-winter temperatures are colder than mine) but I get the possibility of frost from May to September. Some years I can get 6-10 hard frosts in a winter, sometimes just a few light ones.
Summer heat

I also have a rather hot summer, typical days are 32C (87F) and several days of 38-42C (100-106F) are likely. I have no problem with peppers but the humidity is often high here in summer.
If you problem really is the summer heat interfereing with flowering I don't see forcing the growing will do much at all. And I cannot see how cutting the early buds does anything useful, surely you want those fruit that are already set to grow on through the heat of summer even if no more set for a while?
I would try heavier mulch on the roots, steady watering (if you have the water to spare), the sun shade in the hottest part of day and trying different cultivars to find those that suit your climate best.
David
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April, 15

He gets none. I believe he is in Lancaster, north and a lille east of LA. I'm in a 9b zone which can go down to 28F during the winter IIRC, and mid 80Fs during July, August Sept. We have half dozen frosts a year, give or take. I'm on the north side of a hill and occasionally, ice will hang around a few days to a week. So your 9b is nothing like where he is.

Any state west of the Rockies has little summer humidity. Paul's problem is heat. He started in May last year IIRC, whereas he should have his peppers in the ground in Feb. or March. He is in desert and by July he will be running high 90Fs to low 100Fs and his peppers should be harvested already.

Makes no sense to me, but this is how some people learn.

And he could call the UC Cooperative Extension Antelope Valley/Lancaster Office 335 East Avenue K-10, Suite 101 Lancaster, CA 93535 phone: (661) 974-8824 fax: (661) 723-3751
for people who know the local conditions.
--
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I live 70 miles east of Lancaster in the San Gorgonio foothills. The high desert gets plenty of frost in the winter but it never makes it this far down the hill.

I wanted to get them in by March but it was just too cold at night. I got them in by mid April. We were having cold evenings down into the low 40s. I am hoping to get some good peppers in by July, then let the plants rough it until September then get another crop before the colder weather sets in.
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wrote:

I use 1 tablespoon epsom salts dissolved in 2 gallon water. Water every plant weekly with this solution. I got bigger plants and larger thick-walled fruit with this method. Peppers like all the sun you can give them, and not too much fertilizer.
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