HOLLY RIDGE, ONSLOW COUNTY - Charles Grimsey's 6th grade science goes outside to learn about plants in their own hydroponic garden.
"Underneath our raised bed, we have a 40 gallon capacity reservoir that is where the water and nutrients are mixed with the pump," said Grimsey.
This year, the students are growing tomatoes and watermelons all without soil, only water. The only soil-like substance used is to anchor the plants.
"We use stuff like coconut shells or clay. It's called a medium. It helps stabilize," said Thomas Crozier, a student at Dixon Middle School.
Water takes the place of the soil in a hydroponic system. These fertilizers are added at difference growth stages to help provide nutrients to the plants. Then, the students help regulate the water and figure out how much is needed.
"The seedling, the mild growth, the growth, the transition, the bloom, ripen and then we get to the total gallon," said Kethan Allen, another student.
The water is constantly running through the trays. The roots can grow to be a few feet long.
"You have to space it out so the roots have room to grow. We have nothing here, then we have a plant and then nothing," said Zachary Glew.
It's an outdoor science lab that teaches kids more than just how to grow plants.
"I like the idea that they learn how to measure and about crops and making use of proper nutrients," said Grimsey.
Proper nutrients to feed young plants and young minds.