I would.Mainly because I found uploading code to ESP-8266 more complicated than to an Arduino because of having to short one of the ESP8266 pins and pull-up resistors. I speak from experience with the ESP-01. Maybe it was just me.
well all you need is wifi, since that's what makes these boards popular. So I would suggest having the main board function as an access point. The modules out in the garden that want to communicate with this main board can connect directly to it that way.
Additionally, I have to press the flash button, hold that down and press/release the reset button and then release the flash button to put my boards into program mode. I'ts kind of inconvenient but it works.
The ESP modules require this for them to be programmed.It isn't news!
Maybe I'm missing something here?