Our climate sounds similar. 10 inches of rain per year, windy and dry. I am going to dig some hugelkultur beds all the way into the ground 6 feet deep, dump the wood and leaves in, and cover. That way the wind won't be driving against the side of the bed. Plus I think by burying the bed into the ground, I'll get a little more heat from the earth since I am not in southern CA, I am in Montana.