1. Prepare for the slow-down
Composting is a biological process that decomposes organic material under aerobic conditions – meaning oxygen is required for bacteria to break materials down. The only trouble is that cold temperatures often slow or even stop decomposition, as aerobic bacteria tend to become sluggish in the winter.
Even when the temperature drops, some microbes responsible for the breakdown of organic matter remain active in the compost pile, according to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Since the digestion process generates heat, the center of your pile may still remain warm and actively composting.
However, the outer (visible) portion of your pile will cool to outdoor temperatures. So, you may notice extended decomposition time in these areas. Don’t worry about it. Microbial activity will resume normally once the temperature warms up, as long as you maintain a healthy balance in your pile.