Hi! I am doing the same thing in high desert in south eastern Arizona, in the Sonora desert. The climate and wind issues seem similar to barstow. I also plan to use bamboo! It came to that conclusion the other day, they grow so fast and can provide shade. Our problem is the cows that roam here destroy everything. Also the native
animals are so desperate for foods and water
they go to extreme lengths and often eat plants that are unpalatable for them. Squrriels, rats, mice
, rattlesnakes, birds, cows, deer
.... anything around here will eat my garden
Trees are mostly mesquite and only reach like 6 feet tall if not in a wash. Soil is very high clay and rock, extremely erosive, high wind is an issue. Very little shade.
Here is the good stuff: 5000 ft elevation, lots of sunshine, two riverheads coming off big mountain, good well water, sky island effect, nice hiking trails, so much potential for recovery.
The ecosystem is collapsed from overgrazing for 150 years and was probably delicate anyway. The sky island effect is obviously caused by cows because they can't eat oaks on rocky hilltops so it is a different biome there. I like cows but they have decimated the landscape. Trapping all the beavers in Arizona to extinction also played a part.....