My (Scott's) current focus is growing top quality seed and regional adaptation of varieties. This grew from our homestead gardening that already incorporated seed saving to preserve varietal diversity and a focus on staple crops to maximize our family's food security that led Eleanor to incorporate a seed business.
With precious and rare seeds, broadcast planting is too risky. Each seed is individually dropped into a furrow:
The precious seeds are then covered with soil mixed with a bit of compost to help the young plants emerge from our high clay content soil:
This process is repeated in a careful pattern, alternating between wheat, barley, emmer, ... so there is no unauthorized crossing between patches. In 2017, I grew more than 30 kinds of wheat and 30 kinds of barley:
It took a few years to find a wooden label/stake that consistently survived the whole season, remaining legible without becoming misplaced:
I harvested with a hand knife, stem by stem. This allowed me to harvest at the peak of ripeness and stay ahead of foraging wild critters. I passed through the plots about every 2 to 3 days, paying attention to the weather. I cut, taped and marked bundles. After an initial drying indoors with plenty of ventilation, here are some of the bundles awaiting hand threshing:
After threshing and winnowing, comes weighing (for my record keeping), and packaging:
With a tilted soup bowl full of seeds, I find my letter opener the ideal tool to push each 'plump' seed over the end into the dipping sauce bowl:
The end result yields an envelope of the healthiest seeds labelled: "P/S" for Plant in my Garden and offer for Sale. I also set aside seeds for Trade at seed swaps.
Besides the equipment used, a lot of hand labor has gone into those 50 seeds!