When weaving you'll want a flexible material, so the reed is usually soaked.
Reed if soaked to long will absorb any impurities in your water, in the city that's chlorine. It will also become *hairy*. These can be later removed by clipping, but the less amount of time spent soaking the less of a *hairy* reed you'll have.
When weaving that reed bottom, your reed needs to really be soaked and made flexible, otherwise you'll have trouble making the rounds with the weaver and getting a tight bottom. Reed is usually soaked in a large tub type container, just enough water to cover the reed weavers will do. I also use a spray bottle for weaving this type of basket, except when weaving the bottom and find that the reed will usually stay flexible but you usually have to spray it more than the cane.
The Hamburg cane, does not need to be soaked, it will become flexible with much less water. I use a spray bottle for weaving with cane and have found that if the cane is pretty damp as opposed to *wet* you will get a nicer look.
Commercial dyes bleed pretty badly so the more soaking the worse the bleeding. I'm still working on the bleeding problem with commercial dyes.
You don't want to soak say, two different colors of reed together or soak one, say a dark color and then soak in the same water a lighter color. They will really bleed into each other if you do this.