Black plastic is often used to retain soil moisture and to prevent weed growth. The plastic used is generally thicker than plastic garbage bags, but you could try it with garbage bags.
As long as you use them on plants that are not for food, you can use them not only to retain moisture and prevent wee growth, but to reduce heat loss. After looking at the article – I would also just say that, better than paper or plastic, is cloth reuseable bags. We have had the same ones that we keep with us for several years now. We can wash them out with a little water if something spills, we can carry far more in them than any plastic or paper bag and they are produced one time, you can even make your own reusing materials in your home.
Not all plastic bags are created equal. Some are clear a others are black allowing for different wavelengths of light to pass through.
Many people use large sheets of black plastic in outdoor gardens to prevent weed growth. A smaller black plastic bag would be ideal for covering the soil of a potted plant that is outdoors to keep weeds from growing in the soil surrounding the plant.
A clear or semi-opaque plastic bag could really help to retain heat and moisture in cold weather. My parents often had a “cold frame” in the winter and it is basically a mini green house. The cold frame usually consisted of a low wooden frame that had a glass or plastic cover to allow light in to help retain heat and moisture in the soil. Cold frames are also a great way to keep birds from eat your seeds. The clear plastic bags if cut appropriately could work well for smaller cold frames and if you are really good at engineering them into sheets then larger. Just remember that polyethylene really likes to stretch so be careful to not tear it when applying.
Plastic bags could be used as the moisture-retaining lining in certain vertical growing pouches, as shown in the image below (see link for more information):
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