My area has been an overwhelming ordeal, full of obstacles I have never dealt with and I have found that gardening has no longer been a joy but a great sorrow for me, but alas, some people told me about lasagne gardening and I have started to do it, I have a planned out area to try this and if it works the way I think it will, I will let you know and continue on. It sure is a great way to start for a lAZY GARDENER OR A PLACE WITH BAD SOIL. I have to put wire down first though because I have a lot of root eating devils in my desert yard. comments?
I don't know beans about desert gardening, but I do know about having to go from rotten soil to good soil. I started with good old acid North Carolina sand and now have wonderful rich soil full of worms, but it took about five years. I could not completely renovate, so kept adding a few bags of good soil each year along with bone meal and a bag or two of manure, and just kept working in grass clippings and kitchen waste (no way to compost the waste, so buried it here and there in small amounts and let it decompose--no smell, no bugs, no flies) and every time I bought a plant I recycled the soil it came with. It's been a labor of love, remembering what my father used to say about a handful of good soil and trying to achieve the same level I remember as a child. I do wish you luck. It's hard work, but worth every minute. I'm glad you are not giving up!!
If you're not picky about the plants you grow (or if you happen to like the look of native plants) you could try my lazy gardener approach--I plant a lot of CA natives and a lot of Australian natives which will be perfectly happy in poor soil (in fact, with many of them, if you give them too much water or too much fertilizer, they'll die on you!) I don't amend the soil at all, I just plant them right into my nice clay soil, then put mulch on top. I'm too lazy to compost, but I do put a little effort into improving the soil--the mulch obviously breaks down over time and helps eventually, and I also use John & Bob's soil optimizer (easiest stuff in the world--just sprinkle over the ground and then water), and then the only thing I do that really requires much effort at all is that I brew compost tea and apply it about once a month during the warmer months (I don't do the whole garden at once--usually every weekend I'll brew some and do one part of the garden, takes me about a month to get through the whole thing).
Of course if you want a veggie garden or an east-coast style cottage garden then my approach won't work, but if you plant things that are native to your area and other climates that are similar to yours, you can get away with a lot less effort on the soil. I know your climate is harsher than mine so your plant choices are probably more limited than mine, but you may still find some you like. I also know of a lot of people that aren't crazy about native plants especially the kind that grow in desert climates like yours, but if you give them a chance they may grow on you (no pun intended)! Not to mention it's so much less trouble to take care of things that are actually adapted to your climate, as opposed to trying to coax plants that would really rather live somewhere else to be happy in your garden. Las Pilitas nursery has a good reference on native plants for the different areas of CA, I looked up Rosamond and here's their list of plants that will do well in your climate: http://www.laspilitas.com/comhabit/communities/Sagebrush_Scr...
I've heard lots of good things about lasagna gardening (although I've never tried it myself) so I'll be interested to hear how it works for you--but if it's not working or if you're only doing it in one part of your yard and are looking for things to do on the rest of the property, you could try the minimal effort approach I described.
well there are several threads on them but as I understand. any area yo`d like to turn into a garden, an old crumbling asphalt driveway, a hardpan clay area, a weedy area. You lay sown cardboard, newspaper, old magazines, then straw or hay, compost,mixed with some earth, some coffe grounds, just about anything that will decompose into your cardboard, then keep layering it likewise till you have great soil, it needs water so if it doesn`t rain , hose it they say real good once a week or so. Supposedly you can do it anywhere or anytime. Dig out a hole or cut one in the layers and plant during the process or wait till nice soil appears. Each year add another layer as needed. no tilling or any prep work they say is necessary. we will see. Oh ya then edge the bed.