Tomato plants cut off: Can they grow back?

(Question)

Hello,
I live in North Toronto with a south-facing vegetable garden outside of my ground floor apartment. In late May, I planted four tomato plants including big beef, cherry and green zebra. I removed suckers from axles and bottom leaves. I watered the plants regularly and add compost to the soil for extra nutrition and mulch. The plants were thriving and grew over 4 feet tall by mid June.
In late June, to my surprise my spouse cut off the tops and stems to height of two feet, because he thought this would prevent crowding (n.b. I hadn’t yet built vertical supports to replace my original tomato cages).
Since then, the plants have failed to grow further. The green zebras have failed to bloom, and the yield on the big beef plant is low: only five fruits so far. Other plants in my neighbourhood have reached a height of five feet or more and have much larger yields.
Is there anything I can do to recover the plants’ vertical growth and increase the yield?
Thank you in advance for your advice.

(Answer)

I am sorry to hear about your tomato plants. That must have been quite the shock when you discovered the tops cut off. I have accidently broken the top of a tomato plant before and had to encourage the growth of one of the node suckers at the base of the next highest leaf. It grew out sideways and I simply loosely tied it up to grow vertically and replace the initial stem growth. Even if you have removed the suckers before, they will usually grow back but might take a bit of time. To help the plants to bloom more and encourage more growth, I would fertilize them now and every couple weeks until frost with a low nitrogen fertilizer such as 4-12-8 ( N-P-K) or even MYKE 5-6-8 fertilizer. The compost is great for vegetables but it also releases nutrients gradually. It might be helpful under the current conditions to have a quick immediate boost of the the 3 macronutrients for optimal growth and fruit production. Best of luck with your tomato plants!