His professors were so impressed by his work on the fungal infections common to soybean plants that he was asked to remain as part of the faculty to work on his master’s degree (awarded in 1896).
Working as director of the Iowa State Experimental Station, Carver discovered two types of fungi, which were subsequently named for him.
George became fascinated by plants and was soon experimenting with natural pesticides, fungicides and soil conditioners.
Local farmers began to call George “the plant doctor,” as he was able to tell them how to improve the health of their garden plants.
He took his lessons to former slaves turned sharecroppers by inventing the Jessup Wagon, a horse-drawn classroom and laboratory for demonstrating soil chemistry.
Farmers were ecstatic with the large cotton crops resulting from the cotton/peanut rotation, but were less enthusiastic about the huge surplus of peanuts that built up and began to rot in local storehouses.“I cannot offer you money, position or fame,” read this letter. The last from the position you now occupy you will no doubt achieve. I offer you in their place: work – hard work, the task of bringing people from degradation, poverty and waste to full manhood.Your department exists only on paper and your laboratory will have to be in your head.” Washington’s offer was 5.00 per month (a substantial cut from Carver’s Iowa State salary) and the luxury of two rooms for living quarters (most Tuskegee faculty members had just one).James soon gave up the lessons, preferring to work in the fields with his foster father.George was not a strong child and was not able to work in the fields, so Susan taught the boy to help her in the kitchen garden and to make simple herbal medicines.George’s mother was named Mary; he had several sisters, and a brother named James.When George was only a few weeks old, Confederate raiders invaded the farm, kidnapping George, his mother and sister.Over the next few years, George worked at a variety of jobs.He homesteaded a farm in Kansas, worked a ranch in New Mexico, and worked for the railroads, always saving money and looking for a college that would accept him.In 1888, George enrolled as the first black student at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa.He began studying art and piano, expecting to earn a teaching degree.