Because I used to live in a zone 5 climate (now I’m in zone 4), I use black plastic to warm up my tomato and pepper beds in the spring. I keep a couple of sheets of 4-mm-thick black plastic in the Tool Shed (aka my car).
After amending the soil, I anchor the plastic with bricks, or whatever else is lying around, on top of the beds where I’ll transplant my heat-loving plants and let it sit there for a couple of weeks. We all know black absorbs the sun, so it helps to accelerate the sun’s warming effects AND smothers pesky weed seeds before they have much of a chance to take off.
I know 4 mil black plastic has a variety of other uses as well, such as makeshift rain poncho, wood chip carrier, ground cover for a picnic blanket, and most recently–a shower curtain!
I was 3 days at my new place in freezing cold Wisconsin and hadn’t yet ventured out to find a Target to stock up on the typical new home stuff: wastebaskets, shower caddy, shower curtain, you know, the usual stuff. I was dying for a shower but didn’t want water to spray all over, never even considered a bath (I’m just not much of a bath person) … what to do, what to do. Then it dawned on me that I still had some black plastic folded up neatly in the hatchback of my car! I draped it over the shower curtain rod and clipped it in place with a couple of binder clips at either end, rinsed last year’s dirt off of it, and it worked just fine! Best shower I’d had in a long time, as a matter of fact.
Rich Schefren, one of my small-business coaches, liked to remind us that entrepreneurs who were resourceful were often more successful than those who just looked for resources. I doubt he had 4 mil black plastic in mind when he said that.