Building a Wick System
Measure the bucket, which you will use as a nutrient reservoir. Measure the length and width of the reservoir, and cut your Styrofoam 1 inch smaller than the reservoir dimensions. If your reservoir is not light-resistant, paint it black using spray paint to keep out light.
Take the Styrofoam out of the reservoir and cut wells, using your knife, deep enough to hold the mesh pots. Space these holes at least 3 inches apart so plants are not competing for the nutrients. Cut a hole for the hose at either end of the Styrofoam big enough to slide it in without it being able to break free; it does not matter which end you use.
Place the air pump next to the reservoir. Connect the air pump to the plastic tubing, and stick the loose end into the hole at the side of the Styrofoam. Fill your reservoir three-quarters full with the nutrient solution you mixed according to the type of plants you are growing. Place the Styrofoam into the nutrient solution, making sure the air hose does not fall out.
Take mesh pots and fill them with the growing medium, and place one plant in each pot. Place the mesh pots into their wells in the Styrofoam. Turn on the air pump to circulate the nutrient solution.
When the nutrient solution becomes low, refill it.